I'm blogging through Kathy Escobar's fantastic series, Rebuilding after Deconstructing, in an effort to clarify some things for myself, to share my story, and to encourage forward motion. This is so not about whining or placing blame, or picking on any person or institution. Just the story of God and me, up to now... abridged.
See also Deconstruction, the wall and the journey inward: part I, the wall and the journey inward: part II.
Next up in the series is acknowledging and grieving losses. This is a new way of thinking for me. Of course, because my journey involved the death of a loved one, I acknowledged that loss and have done some work to intentionally grieve in a healthy way (it took me a while, as I mentioned in the last post). But I hadn't thought about the rest of it in terms of loss. It's true though--when you grow and shift and change, loss inevitably occurs.
When I think about it, I've lost:
- some trust. I don't know exactly when I started thinking of groups of people as "safe" or "not safe", but it did happen at some point. I discovered the seriousness of it one day when we were in a group discussion at church and Ricky shared some things about our parenting style, family habits, and such and I totally flipped out. He was just being his usual transparent self, which I usually appreciate, but this time I felt threatened and invaded (poor guy, trying to figure out why his wife was freaking out over a fairly harmless conversation). I guess I developed some fears in the aftermath of a few bad experiences, and whether they are rational or not, they are very real in my head and have caused some serious distress.
- the emotional high I used to experience during worship songs. I'm often so pre-occupied with lyrics that don't ring true that I can't focus on anything else. There is one song that everyone seems to love--to me it makes God sound like an abusive boyfriend. It likens him to a hurricane that will blow us away or an ocean that we'll drown in. Then the chorus is about how much he loves us. Seriously, all I can think about is the cycle of abuse when I hear that song. I used to try to sing along with songs that bothered me, because maybe I liked certain parts of them, or maybe I thought I was just over-analyzing. Now I see how damaging that has been to my soul. It's very important for me to protect the good things I know about God. He's not the hurricane, he's the shelter. He's not drowning me, he's pulling me to safety.
- the ability to pray a certain way. This bothers me, because while I don't want to treat God like Santa Claus, I do want to approach him like a loving parent.
- the feeling of being part of the club, the inner circle, whatever. I don't feel like I've been rejected by anyone; I just know that if I speak my mind (which feels more and more necessary these days) I'm simply not going to fit in. I'm coming to terms with that.
- having the right answer, or feeling that someone will have the right answer at least. Now I think maybe, maybe not.
- my certainty about the Bible. It's been used as a weapon a few too many times for me to feel super comfortable with it.
So there they are. Some of these have been good things to lose; some very painful and unfortunate, but they all came about when I started picking apart a system that just wasn't working anymore.