Tuesday, October 25, 2011

dark night of the soul.

why do you believe in God?

within one instant I had to face the questions I never had cause to worry about before, because I never really believed in God – only the idea, the idea of something greater than myself but nothing more than a shallow notion that I was willing to cast aside whenever the time presented itself. the time came. I cast it aside and was shocked to discover that all my worth was nascent within the kernel of belief that I flippantly gave no more than half of a thought from time to time. It was all connected: the community I craved the love I sought the justification I lacked was in that which I felt was easy to live without; yet it was all called away in an instant and I discovered that perhaps it was more than a passing phase or a means to an end, but now it was lost and perhaps I didn’t want it back anyways because I didn’t really believe because how could this happen why could this happen why why why I won’t believe your lies because I am more than that, this means more than that; bring me more pain because in it I find my identity and my self-worth: I am justified. what is community but a false Idea that is but temporary and what is keeping it from being called away in an instant just like everything else?

I left home and moved downtown on my own in a condition ready to bring more pain upon myself because now I would be completely separated from the life I once had, which now became associated with nothing other than that which I had lost – or never really had. Somehow I still continued to go to a fellowship group on campus, because I probably still wanted to keep up appearances or perhaps I wished to seek out others on which I could give my burden in return for the power I could possess over them through the pity I could so easily invoke. It was disgusting, but I preserved my identity and my justification.

Though these people I met, this community I found, was different than the last. I felt accepted like I had never felt before: which was what I really sought above all else, I would soon discover. The power-play no longer had any purpose to serve because I wasn’t necessary, I was a part of something greater than self and external to me. I developed a kinship and bond with two in particular, among others, with whom I shared all from the beginning and they shared in return. This was a relationship with another human being I never thought possible. It seemed to transcend mere conventions and appearances and was all about the inward state and trying to make sense of life. I craved this kind of understanding with a hearty passion, and from them I learned much. I learned not so much from what they said as much as who they were: I looked to them as role models.

here there is an interesting twist, do you see? I shifted my focus away from myself onto those around me and now it became them in which I sought my salvation. I fashioned an idol out of the worth I wished to derive from my relations to others: why is this so bad? I am no longer being selfish and self-involved right? Isn’t that how things are supposed to be? Yet, why do I still feel so alone and isolated? towards the end of a few truly blissful months in which I felt happier than I had ever been in my life, I felt the doubts return that had so plagued me just a season earlier. this time, however, I did not have God to blame because I knew that he was no longer at fault: I believed that he was truly responsible for the joy I now felt and that it could not have come from any other. This left only one other culprit: myself me I. I was the one responsible. I was unhappy once more and now this time only I was to blame. The intensity of isolation increased because I could not blame God any longer, nor others because they are others, this inner struggle could have no other author. I now had an added sense of guilt on top of everything else because I was to blame I was to blame I was to blame do you understand? no one else was at fault.

When the new year arrived, my support fell out from under me once again. Only this time it was different, however, because I had something more substantial to lose. I had experienced true happiness for once in my life and now I had that snatched away and I could not understand why why why why please give me an answer Do you know how it feels to be unhappy and know that only you are to blame? I had lost all hope. The despair was intensified because now I could compare this sorrow to a happier time in my life not a few months earlier. What had happened? What had changed?

I did not love these people. They were no real community to me because I sought in them the same justification I sought in them through the power by which I could usurp their pity from them: a false sincerity. I could see myself as an actor, a liar and O how well I could play the part. I could see the grave intentions I had and believed I could see the same false character in everyone else and so doubted truth and love, because what is love without truth? where is our bond? All was lost and the element of loss was something new to me because I don’t believe I ever had so much to lose before. I saw that I had squandered much of my childhood, or perhaps never really lived it too occupied with that which didn’t matter, drowning myself in my own apathy and indifference. I never really lived my childhood and I was never affected by it before now. What is my life? there was only a past I never lived and a future I was too dead to experience What am I doing? What have I done? why do you believe in God

I saw the idols I had created lose their hope along with me. Everyone around me was unhappy, and the only reason I could see for it was that perhaps we had be living in an illusion that was only bound disappear before us soon enough. Were we just poor quixotic souls fighting enemies that weren’t really there? Was it all a dream from which we had now waked? I do not want to wake: if I am dreaming let me sleep Yet life demanded everything from me, from us, and we had to give it over because we were powerless to stop it. This time it was not God’s fault, but our own. We had replaced God with the idol of our comfort and security and sought our worth in it; we were ready to sacrifice all to the idol and then when God came to ask the same of us, we hesitated. It is that hesitation which held us back with trembling idle hands as chains that bound us to the earth. wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death

You ask me: why do you believe in God? The only answer I can give you is my experience. I think we live under the misconception that we claim to only believe that which we can empirically observe, yet reject all truth based on subjectivity: as though that has nothing to do with experience. I have learned more from my relations to others and from the notebooks and diaries of authors than any book or theology. Though I do not doubt their importance, it is different to witness the truth of life in person. I am changed and those I love have changed as well: I see God in them, and thus I believe. When community is understood properly, we have the ability to see God for ourselves. Those who wish to deny that this is true, I would argue have not experienced what it means to love fully and more importantly what it means to lose everything only to gain everything in its place. I have lived it and for whatever it is worth I tell you that I believe in God because I have seen its proof with my very eyes. I still have unanswered questions, but I have also learned that no matter how often I study, they are answers I will only find in living my life. I will live the questions and in such a way find my answers. I have no doubts, for what reason have I to doubt?

This is only the understanding I have reached on this day in my life and I know it may be subject to revision or perhaps all will be taken from me in an instant again. How will I respond? I tell you I have no fear, come what may: I believe.

This blog at best serves to glorify myself and my problems and for that I apologize and regret that you have read it and that I have published it. I write it out only so that I may have something to look back upon as I return to living these questions and problems and history.

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