10/17/2010 | Share this article:By Jeremy ~
Two years and seven months have passed since I renounced my Christian faith. I have learned more than I can express here, more about myself, more about bonds that break between us and bonds that bind us to each other.
Image by AfghanistanMatters via FlickrWhen I renounced my faith, my wife of seven years remained a believer. We stayed together for one last rocky year and then separated. I initiated our divorce one year later, and it was finalized on July 1st, the day before I boarded a plane that eventually landed me three days later, July 4th, where I now sit and type, listening to the sounds of strong winds buffeting my room’s thin metal door - cool winds that have raced down the recently snow capped Hindu Kush mountains, swept across the dusty valley floor, scooped up the low sputters of distant machine-gun fire and delivered them to my ear along with the muffled voices of nameless men who are talking outside my room.
The last 31 months have been not unlike this Afghan wind. Swift, cool, refreshing, exciting, occasionally abrasive and frequently interrupted with sounds of danger that remind me I am a long way from where I have come.
While loosing my faith, I learned I never was truly connected to myself or others. I had used religion as an excuse to be distant, even distant from and never truly connected to my wife, which made our divorce unemotional for me, mechanical, and unfortunately easy, for me anyway.
I caused a lot of pain. But in a selfish way, I was happy to know that I was now at least recognizing pain in others as real pain, instead of seeing that pain as a divine instrument of a merciful god used somehow to make us better.
My first steps without faith awakened a long suppressed part of me that is insatiably curious, emotional, in love with the new natural world around me, and eager to connect with people on levels that I could not before. And I am. I have new life and an amazing new love, who I have not seen in two months while I bide my time as a desk jockey in Afghanistan.
Although my physical surroundings are foreign, I feel I am finally at home with myself. There is much more that I have lost since shedding my faith, and much more that I have gained. To keep this introduction from being any longer, I'll now find a place in the forums of this website to settle down and fill in the gaps of my story and hopefully get the chance to enjoy your stories, too.
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