On Saturday night, I met up with an old high school friend. He and I went to church together and were part of a very closely knit group of guys. We were best friends. His fiancee was in town. I'd never met her (I didn't know he even had a girlfriend until I heard he was engaged), so I was excited to see the kind of person he had fallen for.
We sampled local beer and caught up. I heard her life story and shared snippets of mine. Through all of this random fact-spitting, my friend asked me, "Are you where you'd thought you'd be?"
Meaning, do I have the job, family, home, happiness I dreamed for myself once upon a time?
"No," I answered quickly.
"Where did you think you'd be?"
"I thought by now I'd be Dr. Davidson, pastor of some established Baptist church in a southern town."
We both laughed. Not only am I not a doctor or a pastor, but the journey of my faith has been a much different ride than when my friend and I were in cahoots as high schoolers. I imagine his journey has been different than he predicted, too. Were he and I to live in the same city, we may be close friends, but we would not attend the same church.
Over the course of our conversation Saturday, it was clear that for he and his future wife, a faith that is free of doubt is important to them. The things they say and believe form a bedrock of comfort, moral clarity, and purpose for them. I do not deny or deride that. But it does not work for me. I have found life to be too unpredictable, too messy, too risky, and too prone to love to believe the way they do.
I have written before about religion on this blog. These posts may serve as a primer for you:
- I Left Church and Found Community
- A Religion is Unbelievable When it Oppresses Women
- Why Churches With Pipe Organs Will Soon Be Condos
- Will She Know What a Pew Is?
I wrote to a friend the other day, "I'm itching to do something religious again." I'm not sure how I'll scratch this quite yet. Stay tuned.
But, I'll close with this brilliant post that was put in front of me (thanks, Lynnette). I hope it helps those of you who are not where you thought you'd be and still not quite where you want to be. Enjoy:
It is not kind to force your soul into a religion that does not love you back.
It does not matter that it was the faith of your fathers. It does not matter if it nurtured you for many, many years. It does not even matter if you made promises to it somewhere along the way. If the religion of your past is bruising your soul in the present, you are not doing yourself a kindness by staying there.