There are so many unexpected but very pleasant side-effects to the freedom of deconversion. Today, because of business, I paid a very brief visit to my parents and sister who takes care of them. I've been living in the city four years but every time I went to visit family and met horse and buggies on the road I felt overwhelmed with--I don't even have a name for it--heavy black clouds of dread would engulf me. I did not think this would ever change. But today I actually enjoyed driving through the community.
Not even seeing the horse and buggies on the road bothered me. I was more interested to see who it was. What bothered me was that a new generation is growing up and I am out of touch with them. Maybe this is grief kicking in. Pure, unadulterated grief can be borne. It's the ugly wounds of distorted confused feelings of suppressed rage, lostness, dread of unnamable and unidentifiable foes that I could not handle. Today I went in there knowing who I am and what I believe.
When my mother asked me if I go to church I had no problem telling the truth. I did not tell them that I have deconverted. I continue to be a good person and I think I am what Christianity wants people to be. So I don't feel they need to know the specific contents of my beliefs. I said I talk with a lot of people online and we do a lot of Bible study. I did not tell them that we study the Bible to prove the error of Christianity. I am taking a course on the New Testament, so it's true that I am studying the Bible. Dad suggested that sometimes it's good to have the Scripture expounded.
I did not know whether it would be okay to say it but I explained that for a long time, even while still with their church, I understood scripture better than the people who expounded it and that many a time I left church feeling upset and not knowing why; that I get much more from meditation, walks, etc. I was surprised but I sensed not hostility of criticism. Maybe this is because they accepted this as okay, or maybe it is because they know I won't visit at all if they are not pretty nice. As it is, my visits are very few and very far between and very short.
I don't know who the people are who know that I have deconverted. My sister said not a word during this conversation. Possibly my siblings know but haven't told Mom and Dad. Our parents are pretty old and feeble in mind and body.
Not so feeble, however, as to let go of trying to "win" me back. There was considerable conversation about my early childhood (probably meant to prove their love and draw me in) mixed in with questions about how I live and what I believe today (probably aimed at getting access to my heart and exploiting the situation).
I get the feeling that I am so far outside her control that she feels totally helpless in controling and manipulating me. Nothing she tries works anymore. You shall reap what you sow. She sowed distruct and reaps its rewards. All in all, if I don't figure in the agendas that may have been at work, it was a pleasant visit.
I was glad that Esther had to get home by a certain time. It was getting to be time to leave. Mom was asking more and more personal questions. Her everlasting curiously--the compulsion to pry--will go to the grave with her. But, due to a clear conscience, I was able to handle the situation well. We drove past my youngest brother's place. We were almost past before I realized what I was seeing. It was pleasant driving through all the familiar areas. If this is what freedom does, then it was worth the price.