Your Faith, My Loss
By freshmints on November 16, 2010
There is a weight that is hanging on my shoulders today. There is a loneliness that is palpable in the air. I am totally absent from the every day. I'm distracted and spending way too much time online trying to fill the feelings. I should meditate. I should at least exercise. I have piles of laundry and lunch to clean up. The kids are finally napping, so I should be working. But my breath feels heavy. My soul feels burdened.
Last night I had a conversation with my sister, an evangelical Christian. Despite our differences of faith, over the past few years we've grown very close as she's gone through the most troubling time of her life. She was broken. I was broken. We related and talked about everything we were learning. She's been a tremendous support to me. However, as the clouds have lifted for her and therapy and determination and work have brought things around for her, she's become a lot more distant. Her faith has taken center stage. She firmly believes that God has brought her through this difficulty, and her faith in Jesus and the message of the Bible is all the more resolute. Meanwhile, I have moved further away from Christianity and have found a spiritual path through meditation. I have had an intense year of immense personal growth as well. She knows this. She's heard me tell her about all I've learned. However, over the last couple months, as I've really begun studying Shambhala and meditating and learning, she's grown more distant. Finally I confronted her about this.
Her response, "I cannot be happy for you. Your beliefs are wrong."
Wow. I had just listened to her tell me, for 20 minutes, about all the God is doing in her life and in the lives of those around her. I listened and appreciated all she's learning. I try to understand. I do mostly praise her for her effort and for being honest and present and for doing the work needed in her life. I cannot give all the credit to God, as I don't believe he's all that involved. But I listen and try to understand and am seriously happy for her and for how much she's learning. But, because of her beliefs, she cannot do the same. Christianity does not allow for that.
I grieve over these lost relationships. Having grown up in a Christian community, I have so very many Christian friends who all feel the same way. I'm a lost sheep who they are desperately hoping will come back home. There is no validation for my own path, my own beliefs. It is isolating and lonely and terribly saddening. I know things would be so much easier if I just believed in Jesus as my savior. I just cannot. I feel I've seen the myth for what it is and cannot make the leap of faith that far. Plus, the idea that God made this one path is one of the major reasons I do not believe. It makes no sense to me. I'm not rebelling. I'm not fighting. I just cannot believe nonsense.
Well, there I go, I guess, doing the same thing. Judging. I'm judging her beliefs. I'm not really as open as I think I am. I just don't see GOD in the division that arises from such concrete faith. How can he ever have devised such a divisive and hurtful plan?
I know we'll never know for sure. My husband thinks that when we do find out the TRUTH, we're all going to be wrong. Whoever or whatever is the energy behind this universe(s) is not something we've come up with on our own. There is still so much we don't know about the universe and what it means to be human. Surely, as we learn more, we'll begin to rule out some of these myths as real possibilities. Just like we were able to rule out a flat earth and a sun god, we'll rule out many of these world religions.
Until then, my relationship with my sister is now and forever will be barricaded by her wall of faith. Or is it my wall of doubt? I am so very sad to know it will never be as it could be. Our entire family is severed by faith. It took my parents to another country. It made them leave their children with strangers. And now it is keeping me from having a deep and meaningful relationship with my one and only sister. Is that what Christ wanted? Is that what Jesus said?
Check out my blog about life and motherhood and learning to be present.