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Letting Go of Jesus and Erin

By Tania ~

The time has come to say another “goodbye.”

The door has closed. I don't know if it will open again. If it will, my guess is that it won't be anytime soon.

I've grieved. I'm not sure I'll ever be completely “done” grieving, because the sadness runs a bit too deep. I loved a lot, and I cared a lot, and now it's time for goodbye.

I've cried, and screamed. I've talked, I've exhausted myself with the talking. I've tried to push the sad and angry thoughts aside, but I also need and want to face them, embrace them, not just ignore something so precious as these things that make us feel, that make us real, that show we're not robots.

I went to the cemetery a while ago. I had some flowers, and I left them at the grave of someone I don't know. It was a symbol – this time of walking and reflecting, of realizing that something special is gone. A closure, a small attempt to somehow try to connect what once was to what is no longer, to appreciate that life is now different, to see the beauty and possibility in it.

This loss was the loss of a friendship – a close friend of over ten years has decided for any number of reasons that she no longer wants to be my friend. There was the misunderstanding, the attempt to explain things over and over, the times of silence, the smalltalk, the attempt to go back to “how we were,” the emails and the phone calls, the relief that we were back to “how we were,” and then the realization that things were not in fact back to normal. There were the tears, the harsh words, another explanation...and the “Okay...well...we'll be in touch when we're in touch.” The implied ending - the words, the tone, the sigh, that for now, there is nothing to do but gently close that door.

It seems, sometimes, to be one loss too many. A few years ago, I started closing the door on Christianity - sometimes it seems to take its time to close a door. I'd waited at the kitchen table for long enough. There had been enough cups of tea, enough racking things over in my head, enough prayers whispered and screamed and written. The silence overwhelmed. I can deal with the talking, the disagreements, the confusion...but the silence overwhelms, the goodbyes – spoken or unspoken – overwhelm.

The sadness still runs deep. There are the jokes, the comments about the absurdity of it all, the feeling of liberation, the open-mindedness...but the sadness is still there. My heart breaks as I drive by a church parking lot that is full..and I am reminded of what I had but no longer have. My heart breaks as I go through a pile of CD's and see these reminders of the God and the Jesus to whom I was so close at one time, but whom I cannot even believe in anymore. I've slowly replaced my worship books and sheet music with other music, but I can't quite bear to let go of all of it. I hear the other people praise the Lord, and pray, and talk of His goodness and His grace, and I wish I could be one of those people, but I'm not – and I miss that. Despite all the things that have changed and how I've met wonderful “non-believers” and grown as an individual and moved on in many ways, my heart still aches a bit for all of it.

I've heard that we're not supposed to make our memories bigger than our dreams. I like that, but I still struggle with it. I love what Christianity was to me. A part of me will probably always smile when I think of Sunday School, youth group, sitting at my kitchen table and feeling so “enriched” by all things God and the Bible, being so “connected” to the Spirit, being overwhelmed by God's blessings. And a part of me will probably always smile when I think of my friendship that is no more – long drives, talks on the wharf, picnics at the beach, sleepovers, Starbucks, long phone calls when we lived far apart, photo shoots in autumn, driving to nearby cities and staying in a hotel for fun, meaningful gifts at Christmas and birthdays, fall fairs....

I am reminded that we hold all these things – the times, the people, the feelings – with us. They have gone, but they're a part of who we are. Life happens, we change, reality hits - sometimes it hits just way too damn hard.

A lump forms in my throat and tears come to my eyes, and I allow it. I'm grieving, and it hurts, but it's necessary. Time will pass, and the things of the past will be replaced, to some degree at least, by other things. The sadness will likely always be there, but it won't always be so close to the surface.