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The Hug

By Tania ~

The house is empty now. Everyone has left to go to prayer meeting. I had to go to the basement for something, and I saw one of the many God books on the desk. And I remembered that hug, that hug that reminds me that I cannot share these thoughts with my family yet – or maybe ever. It would be too much.

They know that I am having doubts. They know that I am not sensing God, that my experiences with prayer and church and Christians in the past year have significantly changed my thoughts about this faith that at one time meant the world to me... And, I think – I should hope – that they know me well enough to know that this is not a phase, this is not me rebelling or being selfish or lazy or judgmental.

They know how I am in my relationships (not perfect in any way, but probably as “normal” as most people!). They've raised me in a simplistic, non-materialistic way, and I've stuck to that because I think it is the best way to live. I have volunteered with the dying for years now and I am training to become a funeral director – and because of that and also because I am generally a curious person about many things, I have spent much time reading about dying, death, the meaning of life, values, beliefs, spirituality. religion, etc. I am well-read; in fact, I've been told that I read too much and think too much!

Back to that hug...

In our family, we do not hug much – maybe a few times a year? I “came out” to my brother as much as I probably will. And he hugged me – tightly, fiercely, wordlessly. I don't know what that meant. He's my big brother, the one who reassures, corrects, advises, tries to set me straight. To this, there were no answers. I don't know if he felt that I am hopeless, or maybe he felt sorry for me, or maybe, maybe, he understood exactly where I'm coming from. A few weeks ago, I admitted my doubt/disbelief about all this God stuff to the Bible study group I sometimes attend (I don't give up easily! God, if He's there, honours that, right?!); when asked what these doubts were about, I admitted, “God. His involvement in my life. His existence. Everything. He used to seem so close and so real, and now... there's nothing.” (I don't think people do that much in any group I've ever attended. Keep quiet, right? I can't do that.) The leader's response was not what I expected. I expected a bit of, I don't know, admonition? Encouragement? Brushing aside of my remarks? Instead, slowly, quietly, thoughtfully, his response was, “Well... that was very honest of you... and... we're here for you....” That answer hurt. I am grateful for what he said, but I guess part of me was hoping he'd tell me that Satan had messed with my mind or that "We all go through that" or "Just have faith!" I don't remember if he did say anything else. His hesitance in replying and the way in which he did not attempt to re-convert me or immediately offer prayers or answers – that, I will not forget.

And I won't forget that hug.

This whole “losing my faith” thing has shaken me up a lot, and I am not a person who keeps silent when things are bothering me. But in this case? When sharing my latest “testimony” is such a far cry from the testimonies I've shared as a Christian over the years?

I will keep quiet for now, unless asked.

Thank you, all of you, for your honesty, for sharing what's weighing heavily on your hearts and minds. I've just discovered this site, and it helps knowing I am not alone. I have this feeling, deep down, that things will turn out okay and the truth will set us free and all that... it's just that right now, it's a bit too deep down.