Back in the fall, something happened that I could not file away. It was an extremely disconcerting experience. I was in a public building and someone I knew walked into that building. She glanced at me, and then turned away and ignored me. Granted, on catching sight of her, I got that fluttery feeling around my heart and glanced down to avoid making eye contact just then. I felt the need to steady myself before making contact. But when I was finished with my task, I meant to try to make eye contact, even though I was nervous.
The conflict between us was as slippery as water and had never been contained in a conversation. There was a time when we celebrated life together and shared a profound bond. That was over. She looked away and averted her gaze while I passed her. Unable to make a connection, I walked out, yielding to her strategy since I couldn't employ my own plan to just be shallowly pleasant. The sunlight outside the building blinded me temporarily, but the glaring awkwardness left me confused for months.
Finally, I was able to dissect why it had me awake at nights. This person and I live mere miles from one another, raising families, living our lives, professing to follow Jesus and his ways. But being a follower of Jesus seemed to have nothing to do with this conflict. It seemed to have nothing to do with the way I interacted with my day. It seemed to have nothing to do with the dynamic of how we are as a family. And it wasn't just me. I thought back on churches we had been a part of and remembered the acrid experience of conflict with people that were some of the meanest SOBs I've ever encountered. People in the church where I grew up who became more dreadful as the years went by, not more gracious. I expanded my recollections to dozens of "Christian" marriages tanked. Kids from "good Christian homes" grown up to be anchor-less people. Money problems ensnared more than I could count. And the worst....the people who were pathetically fragmented "giving God all the glory" for lives that were ridiculously empty.
I was engulfed in a cloud of profound doubt in this thing that I had literally given my life to. Thirteen years in private Christian school. Four years of Bible college. 14 years of full time ministry. Starting a church from scratch so that it wouldn't have the problems of an old church. All that so I could politely hope I didn't see Somebody in the grocery store?
"It doesn't work." I found myself thinking.
More accurately, it wasn't so much that it didn't work...."Maybe it really is just something that gets people through the day." I thought. It just didn't make enough difference.
My doubt was completely unwieldy. I had never ever doubted my faith before. I literally contemplated what it would look like to just give it all up but decided it was too much trouble to throw it all out and start over, especially in light of...you know...my husband being my pastor. Like avoiding a decorating project, I decided it was just too big to tackle. I told Robb that it felt as though I was sitting in front of a huge wall that I could not pass. Unable to even guess what to do about it, I pictured myself lying down next the wall and taking a nap.
It was about this time that we began our small group of the leaders for the spring small groups at church. I had read most of the book already at the end of the summer, but I never actually finished it. I was impressed by it, but it was easy to push aside in my preparations for the War Eagle craft show. .
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero has proven to be a way for me to find a path through the strange spiritual landscape I found myself in. Consistent with my previous experiences, reading the book as a group greatly intensified the experience. The last 12 weeks have been a fork in my journey. The book helped me voice my doubt. It also helped me understand the value of doubting my faith in the first place. Chapter one deals with the problem of emotionally unhealthy spirituality; my observations about Christians I had known over the years...and worse...the kind of "Christian" I was becoming....found expression there.
I have struggled too, to know where this blog fits in my life anymore. My lack of posting is evidence that I wasn't sure what the purpose was anymore. My need for it has changed in most ways. As I move towards being a whole person, I know now that this is where my soul and my work touch. I am not just a disembodied spirit, too holy for everyday life, nor am I just a drone, a worker bee. I am a creative soul reflective of a creative God and I look forward to blogging my soul out.