I am, admittedly, really terrible at dating. But I have learned one very normal thing: break-ups are hard and usually happen a lot slower than they look to the outside world.
She hits the snooze too many times. He doesn’t pick up his wet towel off the floor—or his socks. She leaves toothpaste in the sink. He complains about her mother. She doesn’t like his friends. They look at each other and forget why they ever fell in love in the first place. She looks like a stranger. He feels unsafe.
They part ways.
This is the way I left church—slowly, disappointed, disillusioned, heart-broken.
I used to believe there was a way to be Christian. But when I tried to follow that way I found myself fighting against my own integrity—against the very words of Jesus.
My faith in that old system died a slow death by a thousand paper cuts. There was never just one thing—it was a breakup.
It happened in the smallest moments, these tiny cuts.
I couldn’t lift my eyes to the heavens while my heart was breaking from the weight of injustice that wasn’t being spoken of.
So I am left holding my faith in one hand and my doubt in the other and I am in a fight with my former self.
I am desperate to write about and explore faith and I am also devastated by an old way that cannot disconnect with injustice, othering and hate.
What do I believe?
I don’t even know anymore. I believe it’s possible to wash the toothpaste out of the sink and pick up the towels from the floor. I believe it’s possible to reconcile and redeem. And I still believe in love. And joy. I wail toward the sky for peace. I swear under my breath for patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.
I watch my faith get stronger, but so does my cynicism. I cannot reconcile the halves.
I walked to church last week because I really needed a good cry, but then it didn’t come. No tears.
The man offering the wine during communion was weeping. He could hardly speak the words, “Blood of Christ, shed for you.”
I envied his tears. My chest ached like I was sobbing, but the release of the hot, salted emotion didn’t happen.
I don’t know how to feel this week. This year.
But I am learning something about faith. It is persistent. I cannot separate myself from it.
So, some weeks I walk to church and I cry. And some weeks, I skip it to go on a date where we swear and talk about racism and sexism and that still feels a lot like church.