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Reason #1: Why I Left My Child-Like Faith Behind


seven77

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This entry is going to kick off a series of entries over the next 2ish weeks. In the process of making some changes in my life, not sure where they are headed.

 

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Reason #1:

 

When I left my faith last time, it was due to a lack of evidence. I think that is the case for many of us here at Ex-C. Nothing special about me. Now, I find myself reconsidering faith. It is a startling notion for me to even entertain the idea of believing again. Faith violates logic and mocks reality. Faith is fantasy and a dangerous one at that. Yet I keep going back, back to a time when I did have authentic, child-like faith as spoken of in the book of Matthew. How did I lose my faith the first time? I don't need to analyze everything or even have infallible evidence of the whys and hows of it all. I just need to understand why I gave up on God back then to know why faith didn't work for me as an adult.

 

The end of childhood is traumatic for us all. We all must lose our innocence and quit believing in fairy tales, magic, wishes that come true, happy endings for every story, heroic father figures, saviors, monsters, and mythological characters. Sooner or later, we learn that a fat white guy doesn't put presents under the tree at Christmastime, that fairies don't leave money under our pillows when we lose teeth, and that ghosts don't exist. It's life, it's reality, that these things don't exist and that wishes and dreams don't manifest without effort on our part.

 

Faith requires childish belief all of the above and a unwavering commitment to living in a fantasy. One has to be willing to believe that the improbable will happen. That a dead guy came back to life and that by buying into this tale, we too can defeat our ends. Believers pray to their gods, petitioning them to perform miracles, heal pain and injury, take away burdens and guide us through the clusterfucks and black holes of our lives. We cry and they supposedly wipe our tears away. Gods are good imaginary friends for those who have limited imaginations, I guess.

 

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I lost my childish belief when my Grandma B died. It was the summer between grade 4 and grade 5, so I would've been 10, I suppose. I shared a bedroom with my grandmother and my oldest niece whom my sister had left there at some point. I will never forget the night that led to the end of my faith the first time. My grandmother fell out of bed and landed in front of the door. I have no idea how long she laid there moaning before I woke up from my kid slumber. My niece was wailing, saying “NANA!” over and over again, pointing to our grandmother as she lie on the floor. Nikki was too scared to get out of her toddler bed with its rails even though she could and often did wriggle her way out of it most nights. I remember my dad was beating on the door, trying to kick it in to no avail. Grandma was directly in front of it and it could only open for a few inches before it hit her body.

 

He was angry that he couldn't get to her and he yelled at me to move her. I wasn't that strong, but eventually I managed to drag her back a couple of feet so that he could open the door and get in. Her nightgown had slipped down, caught on the bare plywood floor of our room. The splintery wood dug into her tender back flesh and left raw spots. She cried out in pain and I cried because I knew I was hurting her even more than she already hurt. But my dad was yelling and I knew that if I didn't move her, he'd beat me when he got in. He was using an ax handle to beat the door frame on the other side in frustration and I could see cracks forming in the drywall as I pulled her across the floor.

 

Finally, he got in and he and my mom took over. Mom called emergency services. In the area where I grew up, there was no 911. We lived in the rural south, several miles from a paved road, let alone a hospital. Mom wrung her hands and said that she hoped that a local would be working that night and not those “city boys” from a few counties over who didn't know our twisted dirt roads with their unofficial names and unreliable handmade signage. Things were silent as Dad tried to move Grandma off of the floor. She screamed and told him not to move her. The pain was unbearable. She asked for a cigarette and I fetched her Marlboros off of her nightstand. My dad struck a match and lit it for her, sitting there with her head on his lap, holding her cigarette as she tried to smoke the pain away.

 

I don't remember much after that. She died a couple of weeks later in the podunk medical center in the next county over. The last time I wore a dress as a child was to her funeral. For some reason, my mom insisted that my sisters and I wear matching ensembles to the service. My older sisters are much older than me, so I ended up wearing a really hideous dress because this was the 90s and my sisters thought they looked good. I didn't wear a dress again until my high school prom and I still associate dresses with awful events and acts of fashion force perpetrated against me.

 

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And that's all for today. Trust me, there is plenty more but I don't know if I can share it. It's deep shit, hard to process. A couple of weeks ago someone asked me a question and I talked a bit about my grandma B. It's a wound that I don't touch often. I suppose her death and its aftermath are part of the reason why I was in therapy for most my teens and some of my 20s. Even as an adult, I can't seem to shake the trauma that it caused.

 

The end of my child-like innocence had begun....

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7,

You're a natural, a born writer. My goodness, this is so human. Inspiring. Gut-wrenching. Motivating. (Motivation comes unexpectedly.) This isn't just a blog entry. Whatever you did, and however you did it, to write this entry as you did, write the next ones that way too. You have the seeds of a memoir or some other genre of creative nonfiction.

 

Whatever you consider, or reconsider, and whichever way your path goes, please stay around. I want to read your story, and your book. And I want to know who the author is.

 

And I promise I will try to get myself back in gear and get back to my own writing. If reading your work doesn't motivate me, then I'm too far gone. (I'm not willing to give up.)

 

Thanks,

Human

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