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Filling the Void

By Whitney ~

Leaving the church, my faith and my belief in the Christianity that was once the essence of my every understanding, has brought many freedoms to my life. It has afforded me the space to see people for who they are; not the sins they commit. It has opened my mind to new ideas; allowed me to question the unquestionable. In these almost five years of non adherence to religion, I have been able to build an ever evolving worldview piece by piece.

So much of that process has been filled with child like wonder as I begin to see life and all the things that inhabit it from a new, sometimes formerly forbidden, vantage point. The compassion and gentleness and awe that has been cultivated in my heart through hours of discussion with others and sometimes a glass (or two) of whiskey has surpassed the fears I once had when I first started on this uncharted path.

I think I would be giving myself and my story a disservice if I said this new enlightenment hasn’t come at a cost... But I think I would be giving myself and my story a disservice if I said this new enlightenment hasn’t come at a cost; hasn’t forced me to sometimes fill a void of emptiness that was once occupied by what I thought to be a very real and loving god. This last year has been filled with pain and questions and agonizing decisions. My sister lost her baby. My hopes of being the forever mother to my foster daughter crashed and burned and I still wear the scars, as I’m sure she does as well. My son continues to struggle with paralyzing anxiety and now a world pandemic threatens everything and everyone we know.

And now comes Easter, a once sacred day to me that I used to plan with intention and sacredness, and I would be lying if I said that now when I indulge in the bunny and the eggs and a celebration of “new life,” it doesn’t seem a little cheapened and shallow.

Those dark days and moments, the heavy hearts and unanswerable questions have put me in uncomfortable spots not only with myself but with others. I don’t know why this happened. I don’t have hope of this loss not hurting one day. I don’t know why bad things happen.

As a Christian “the void” is the scary place that atheists and the lost live in. But here’s what I’ve learned: Having a void and sometimes even living in the void is okay. And it’s not in everything and it’s not forever. My own sisters (who I admire greatly) fill their voids by clinging to their faith in god when the pain in blinding and the questions are unanswerable and I love that about them. But that’s no longer an option for me so I fill my void differently and varying by the situation. It’s not easy and there’s no one or thing to validate if I’m doing it the right way. This is both beautiful and terrifying. It’s sacrilegious to all I’ve ever known or been taught, but the freedom of not having the answers, of truly living each moment to the fullest because this is all there is- that fills me with the wonder and awe and gratitude to fill the void. It’s not a one stop answer and it’s messy. Yet here I am, living this unpredictable and often struggled life day by day, just like I used to. I still laugh and cry and celebrate Easter. Just differently. And that’s okay, and I’m okay. Actually, I’m more than okay.

Happy Easter and Peace.