"Maybe I just don't have anything to say." I said to myself.
Who am I kidding? Jane always has something to say.
I really liked Alicia's post today. I have no answers. I have no passion to share the answers I don't have. All I can share is my story. And this is my story today.
After 48 days of sobriety, diligent recovery efforts, and "present" living, Pete slipped. And then he relapsed. The day before a vacation. Again.
Before the porn and masturbation, there was that ugly conversation, where he blamed and victimized and minimized. With each word I took deep breaths and tried to escape my body and watch the conversation as a detached third party. Tension built in my jaw and shoulders as I braced for impact, but I made a valiant attempt to validate some of his feelings. Desperate to engage me in his chaos he pushed. He dangled. I bit.
In my head I cussed at myself. "DAMN IT! YOU LET HIM BEAT YOU AGAIN!" I wanted to say it out loud but instead I sobbed and asked him to leave me alone.
The next day he hated me. It was like a steam that evaporated off his angry body. I laid out some boundaries. He acted out. I followed through on a boundary and it felt empowering and peaceful.
Days and "slips" later I floundered and doubted my boundaries. There was no peace. There was no empowerment. I felt lost and confused. Where were my answers now?
For years of my life I built a reservoir of faith. I deposited and deposited, I paid my premiums so that when the flood of doubt came I could cash out my spiritual insurance. The last few months I have withdrawn every last penny from that account.
It's been so easy to withdraw from God. My crisis of faith gave me the perfect excuse to ignore all faith promoting exercises. It's been easy to cuss and rebel. To surround myself with other rebels and I took a sick pleasure in mocking the pious and religious. It felt cathartic and I started making deposits of apathy in the account that covers my soul.
Only twice in the last six months I have felt close to God. At church in Hawaii and in the Arizona sun with Yoga Amber. But otherwise I have been content to muddle in negativity and cynicism. I was too proud for sacred things and tender feelings.
And now I am empty. My spiritual well is dry and I feel no lasting peace. Last week when I found myself discouraged and confused I tried to pray. But between me and God was a mountain of spite, doubt and the ridicule I'd indulged in. My own shock and shame at my pride prevented me from feeling any kind of inclinations of the Spirit.
Somewhere along the line I bought into the world's view that righteous means self-righteous, and religious means intolerant. Fools trust God and intelligent people solve their own problems. Personal conviction is narrow-minded and idealism is naïve. Strict moral codes are unrealistic and obsolete. Contemporary thinking is not based in faith, but rather in science.
I admire you Alicia, and all my other friends who take their relationship with God seriously. My friends who seek genuinely for spiritual improvement, who have endless trust in God, who set goals for being in places that will strengthen their faith. I especially admire those who don't take spirituality for granted, and particularly anyone who has relinquished their faith and then found it again with humility and recommitted zeal.
God bless you all. And God bless me.