Recovering (From) Faith: Freefall


I don’t think I believe this anymore.

I couldn’t even whisper those words, I typed them out on a keyboard, to my best friend, in what seemed to be the longest sentence of my entire life. I don’t know how long it took me to type it but I can tell you that it hurt, every single word of it.

You know the Roadrunner cartoons? Where the Coyote would be running across a canyon of some kind, so sure of himself, and all of a sudden he looks down and realizes that there’s nothing holding him up? Real life doesn’t work that way. We all know that gravity doesn’t wait for you to notice it. But sometimes truth does. One really honest look and before you know it, you’re in freefall with a lot of unknowns at the bottom.

I never thought it would happen that way. I never thought it would happen at all. I spent 29 years of my life with this thing, this faith. This was who I was. It may not be fair to say 29 years, I suppose. Infants don’t have faith as such. But I was in church from the first week I was out of the hospital. I have no memory of ever having a moment of accepting my faith. It was just always there, for better or worse, like my parents or weather or gravity. These things could work for or against you but they were always there. There was no alternative. I grew up, I questioned, I thought about things, I changed how I looked at things but I never thought I could decide against them. It was how the world was formed. It was too big of a story to rewrite, it was too much a part of my DNA to undo. The framework could be creatively worked within but never torn down.

Except one day David looked at my dating profile and I was fascinated, I wanted to say hello. It wasn’t that he wasn’t a Christian, I was okay with that. I had already determined that the importance of that trait was exaggerated. He was married and in an open relationship with his wife. Understand that I had many friends in all kinds of relationships. I was at least somewhat familiar with the concept of polyamory, and open relationships but these things were for other people. They were wrong. I could (and did) love my friends who were in these relationships, of course. Just like I loved my friends who were gay or who were living with their significant others or whatever the thing might be. But there was a dividing line and it was important, it was vital, it was simple. I could love them but I could never be them. Those things couldn’t be an option for me. And that day I looked at his profile and thought “I might want that. It’s possible. I want to know more about that.” I knew my framework wasn’t flexible enough for these things. I knew that there were compromises I couldn’t reasonably make and still be honest So I stopped and I took a look down. And I admitted the thing I had been avoiding for I wasn’t really sure how long.

I don’t think I believe this anymore.

That day I started falling. It was as scary as I thought and also less so. To be honest? It was a little bit of a relief. The fall was more honest than the running had been. There are still a lot of unknowns at the bottom. I’m learning to be okay with it. Sometimes the best you can do is say the most painful truth you have and see what comes of it.


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