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"shattered Faith"


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Some recent conversations and the following link to a thread by Brother Jeff has prompted me to post the following poems about the struggle when on leaves a belief system. Currently I am not sure of my beliefs, but I do have hopes. I do believe, as naive as it sounds, that every individual (yes, even the most evil) has redeeming quality within.


Here is a link to Brother Jeff's thread:

Psychological Issues of Former Members of Restrictive Religious Groups

by Jim Moyers


A few excerpts from Moyers' article:


"Many, especially those who had been intensely involved with their religion, experience what has been called the "shattered faith syndrome" (Yao, 1987). Having lost faith in what was once a primary source of meaning and guidance, the former believer feels lost and overwhelmed.


A former member should be encouraged to look at the positive as well as negative aspects of having belonged to a restrictive religious group. It may be helpful to think of the involvement as a developmental stage that was important, in ways both good and bad, in shaping one's life.


In any transition, there is a naturally occurring period of time between the collapse of old beliefs and their replacement by a new set of guiding principles. Kuhn's (1970) account of the disorientation that occurs when a scientific viewpoint once thought to be definitive fails to fit emergent facts can usefully be applied to the similar confusion that comes with a shift in religious belief. Bridge's (1980) concept of an "empty" middle phase that occurs in the process of moving from an old way of being to something new that is not yet fully developed can also be helpful in normalizing the ex-believer's sense of confusion and inner emptiness as a natural part of the process of moving beyond outmoded views about self and the world."




So, following are a nine poems/prose about the struggle. I have quite a bit more (ha!) ....but I'll spare you. :D Some of the "more" are already posted in another thread or two. :)


note: October, 2005, is when I parted ways from an abusive religious system.


another note: These writings contain God references. It is not my intention to offend, but to relate some of the struggle... :thanks:





Shattered Pieces


I find myself startled


and stunned

as I awake to the reality

of what lies surrounding me.

Shattered pieces of what I had arrogantly fabricated,

I thought was authentic and inerrantly stated.

It's taken much time, heart-wrenching agony

to be able to grasp the sobering verity,

a shattered vase, each fragment noteworthy.


I ask my soul,

'Where do I start to pick up the pieces?'

The answer,

'One at a time.

Some trash; others, keep 'em.'


Deliberate with focus, I timidly begin:

God please guide my soul and my trembling grip,

allow me with courage to honor each scabrous slip.

Thank you for showing me all is not lost

that the next vase we sculpt is at a great cost,

that your fire will purify each pattern anew

a vessel wrought tenderly

to recover me, to embrace you.



august, 2006




A Whisper


I tremble, a leaf at autumn tide

before its final rustle on the tree.

What I have clung to for so long

is it possible I am wrong?


What can I trust?

Dare I ask, whom?


soul, be still

quiet, calm the roar


Spirit within

Spirit without

You have hearkened my cries before.

Amidst this tumult, what can I grasp?



transcendence in my soul

identity imprinted upon my every cell



Among the voices without

Among the voices within


A whisper




february, 2007






Bitterness within

Fiery rage

Desire for revenge

Jealousy for nonchalance


Foreign to me

deep bitterness, rage,

revenge, jealousy.

I know not how to tame these beasts.


Why God?


Seize them from me!


Let me straddle a silver maned unicorn

with wings outstretched

galloping upon the wind

to an enchanted land where these beasts do not be.


My head, it burns.

My lungs, on fire.

Fumes within every sinew of my fiber.

Any moment, ignition.


Tears pour forth

imploring You to take this cup.

I do not understand.

Why does it hurt so deeply?!?


I shake my fists at You.


What is it You want from me?

Why does it burn so deeply?






february 26, 2007







Will you please hold my hand?

Will you please hold my heart?


I don't need fancy words.

Nor theological rhetoric.


I simply need to know

I matter.



february, 2007






How did you arrive?



Wrestle through the night?


My heart, a dichotomy.

One day, yes

Next day, no

Do others know this too?

Surely I'm not alone.


How did you arrive?



Trust through the trial?


I hang my head

At times in shame

My soul will not let go.

Do others know this to?

Surely I'm not alone.




march 6, 2007




High Tide


The ocean pulls debris

from across the sea

landing it upon the shore

lying before me.


Then the mighty waves

pull debris from me

carry it across the sea

to the shore of another's door.


O deep sea I pray

Take from me my heart's debris!

Engulf it within your belly's depths!

To fully feel your violent fury!


Energized by your abysmal currents

Engaged in your stream of life

Seize the bitterness, rage, and anger

Spawned from the womb of lies and strife.


If a cyclone it stirs to roar

Let her dance upon your expanse

Spewing her venom far from shore

So not to poison another's door.


Once the ravaged vortex ceases

Let it soak its wearied course

Purified with sun and salt

To inherit a new life force.


Yes, take from me my heart's debris!

Yet let it fulfill its passage

So when it beaches the opposite shore

Its toxic waste betides no more.




may 19, 2007






Tears spill, salty rivulets.

Shoulders droop, wearied slopes.

Verve empty, droughty soil.

Sinews heavy, imploding sun.


lies, disappointment, rejection

doubt, ugliness, self hate


At times it feels I'll never crawl out

from rituals deeply chiseled.

One day I hope, next day I waiver,

resistance slippery as oil.


dreams fade overtaken by ingrained futility


God, help me see beyond the dismal now,

hide me in your bosom!

Heal the schism in my heart

forged by mores of deceit.


Help me trust again.



june 12, 2007






I cannot find words to write

Disorientation in my mind

One side says yes and then says no.

I grasp for truth with substance


How can I believe me

How can I believe you

When the substance is but vapor?

After so many lies it's hard for the heart to trust


But trust I must

Or else my heart will crater

My life's substance will dissipate.

For without trust, what else can I hold onto



june 11, 2007




Cabooses, Cups, and Cobblestone


My hope has waned of late

Like a distant tunnel shrinking

As I peer from the caboose


I see cups half empty

Where once they were half full

The stack of broken toys grows higher


What I knew as truth

The bedrock of my life, cracked

My foundation, now uneven cobblestone


The solidarity to which I clung

That which my all embraced

Mortar that held the structure's face, crumbled


Perhaps herein lies my strength

In tiny grains and handpicked stones

Building blocks for the master craftsman



february 19, 2oo8

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Beautiful work all around.


To me, I think that is the epitome of poetry. Just write what you feel and forego the structural parts until your heart has bled out.


Nice job, Judith.

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I love the poems. In part because they speak to me from a place, and in a language that I understand, but mostly because they're worthy of that sentiment. My experience with your writing is still limited, but I'm starting to get a taste of the powerful, articulate, erudite writing you're capable of. I especially like "HighTide", in my opinion that one isn't just good, it's exceptional!


Great read!


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Thanks guys... :wave:


There is of course a story behind each penning. ha!



Grumpydog.... 'High Tide' was inspired by the Florida shore.


My daughter and I had spent the day in Daytona. The riptide was so strong no one was allowed in the water.

That night we were walking the boardwalk which is an elevated concrete walkway with about 20(?) steps down to the beach. The ocean was crashing the side of the wall on the boardwalk and was covering the bottom two steps. There was a beautiful, passionate fury in the tide.


This is Daytona....one of the widest beaches in the world(?). I thought to meself, "Is this normal?" I inquired of the locals and they said, "NO!" Normally there would be 50 feet of beach. They told me it sometimes happens in the fall when a noreaster is blowing, but never had they seen it in the spring.


Just so happened this was a time when I was working through some deep, deep feelings of rage in my soul. The ocean (and my poem) provided a release.




I've changed 'Shattered Pieces' a few times over.....even this morning. I think I finally have it where I want it.

One morning that August, shortly after waking up....I had an image in my mind of a shattered vase all over the kitchen floor....which is exactly how I felt. But I'm not one to throw the baby out with the bath water. Plus, that vase represented my entire adult life; and it wasn't all bad....there is lots of good. But the structure had burst. The results of that burst continue to be exposed....a layer at a time. :)

note: That morning I really did ask myself that question in the poem, and myself answered with those exact words. Ain't it great... *thumbsup*



Thanks again for the comments. I'm humbled. .... and a rambler. hehe

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