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From the Drinking Gourd to the Crux

By Mriana ~

It is sometimes strange how we figure out what things/issues give our lives meaning. I think I found out the hard way recently, but I am rather content on that aspect now, especially after a short email conversation I had Wednesday morning.

I received an email that morning from Valerie Tarico, who has given me inspiration in many ways, even helped/helps me on my journey in recovering from religion and this time was no exception. She said, "Thank you again for all of the encouragement and support you provide to the exChristian community. So many people have been buoyed and encouraged by your words!" I not only thanked her for that and told her I really needed those kind words right about now, but I ended up dumping on her a little, in part because I know she won't repeat what I told her and because I trust her.

Recently, someone inquired of me something to this effect, “If religion is meaningless to you, why do you still talk about it, among many other things? Why don't you just walk away? I did.” Well, after dumping on Valerie about this and more, she made the statement that she thinks the healing journey is different for all of us -- some need to process more and others need to help others. Personally, I think I need to do both.

Then she asked two big questions, which seemed aptly analogous to some of the things I often do: "Why did Harriet Tubman need to go back into the South and lead other slaves to freedom? Why couldn’t she just settle down in the North and be glad for where she was?"

“If religion is meaningless to you, why do you still talk about it, among many other things? Why don't you just walk away? "Why did Harriet Tubman need to go back into the South and lead other slaves to freedom? Why couldn’t she just settle down in the North and be glad for where she was?"I like what I have read about Tubman and even admire her for what she did. She was a strong fearless woman -- at least concerning what she did for others, because it could have meant her life. She could have had BIG fears in other areas of her life, but she took a BIG risk rescuing and helping other slaves to freedom. Similarly, sometimes I take risks in relationship to helping others with religious crap, not necessarily life threatening ones, but risky in other ways.

So, why do I hang out on, write articles for this site, interact with others in similar groups concerning religion/religious abuse, and even assist others, with what I can, in this area, talk about religion, etc etc? Why has Marlene Winell and Valerie Tarico given me inspiration to eventually get a masters or doctoral degree in psychology? Why do I do any of this stuff related to religion that I do even though I am still in the process of recovery myself? Why not just get over it and move on?

I cannot "just move on", I have a need to explore the human condition, and help others, where I can. That and I am also still in the process of recovering myself. I think this also may relate back to the topic of the wounded healer Marlene once mentioned elsewhere. Yet this "wounded healer" seems to help others, while others inspire her, as evident above, even though, at other times, she sometimes may get re-wounded/burned again in some respect for it all, for whatever reason.

Well, I realized after that conversation with Valerie, that while my grown sons and my cats still give my life meaning, it was/is not enough. A couple years ago, I just got involved with all of this, not just for myself (at least not once I was into it) to help me recover, but I also hate seeing people suffer and I try to help in ways I can. Sometimes, it seems, my greatest weakness is also apparently my greatest strength. I cannot stand to see people suffering and want to help stop their suffering. Most of the time it is helpful and rewarding to me (as above), other times it can end up being a really big mess (at least for me) for many reasons. However, after this discussion, I realized all of this, including my own ongoing process of recovery, is part of what gives my life meaning, even what makes me who I am in some respects. It sometimes even puts to good use my greatest weakness/strength, and to just walk away does not help me or anyone else any. While on the surface it looks like it is all about religion and that religion is still important and meaningful to me, underneath all of that, it really is not. It is more than that.

While I may sometimes get hurt over it [again], there are always things like this that make it worth the fight and struggle, that seems to be part of me and makes me who I am, because it gives my life meaning in the end. Being somehow reminded of this, has helped me greatly, even given me some things to think about and even feel like I can come back a little stronger. Who knows? Maybe one day I will make my own quilt with its own map on it.

For now, this is my way of thanking others, especially Valerie for taking the time to listen, even when not asked, and give helpful feedback, as well as helpful words that encourage and inspire. You are appreciated also, as well as many others.


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