When you work at a big church, the week leading up to Easter is hectic. My week has been dedicated to survival, keeping my head down as I work like crazy to make sure everything I’m responsible for is handled well. But I’m taking my first away-from-my-desk lunch all week to write this post because the walls of my office feel like they’re closing in. Note to self: even though the weather is lovely, you’re a sitting target in the courtyard. Find somewhere more secluded to write next time.
Unpacking my house has taken a backseat to survival as well. My kids have been doing their best to derail my efforts, and it has felt like enough simply to make it through the day, feed the children, straighten up, then collapse into bed. Oh, and watch the season premiere of Game of Thrones — I haven’t totally given up on myself, y’all.
Let’s talk about faith for a minute. It’s something I haven’t really touched on (imagine that — no religion in a dating blog), but because of my job, it’s unavoidable, really. I work Sunday mornings, overseeing one of the services on campus, so I catch bits and pieces of the sermon. I attend a (not mandatory but — ahem — highly encouraged) weekly chapel service for staff, and our staff meetings typically open or close with prayer.
I was raised in the church, walked away for a while in my late teens and early twenties, then went all out for Jesus for much of my twenties and early thirties, leading women’s groups, writing worship songs, serving on church leadership committees, teaching Sunday School, mentoring teenage girls. All the things. I believed wholeheartedly in what I was doing and the reasons why I was doing them. My faith sustained me during the most challenging parts of my marriage. My laundry list of church commitments kept me distracted from the loneliness and fulfilled and affirmed me in ways that My Ex did not.
About three years ago, I decided to finally go to therapy. And I laid out the whole terrible story of my marriage and why I was so profoundly unhappy. When I spilled it all out, it was immediately apparent to me that my situation wasn’t sustainable. I stayed in therapy for a while longer; however, for reasons that are still unclear, that period marked a shift in my spiritual life. During my separation and divorce, I felt like I was in a spiritual desert. I assumed that I would eventually emerge and make it back to where I once was, so I wasn’t too concerned. But as the years passed, I wondered how likely that return would be.
I started working at the church while I was in the desert. Perhaps it was an odd choice, but I needed the money and the flexibility the job afforded me. I don’t mind being around the religion, theology, faith-language, liturgy, and the rest. But it does serve to highlight my lack of faith, the absence of what I once held so closely. Now it just feels empty, which doesn’t make me sad so much as objectively contemplative.
I know some of you who read this blog regularly are people of faith, Christian bloggers even. I know so much on the subject of Christianity, have access to so much (I could pull together 15 people at a moment’s notice to pray for my soul), yet I have no desire to grab onto it. I still believe in God, though I don’t often pray to Him/Her. I guess my point is that the road that led me here is more complicated than my dating life or my sex life or my relationships past and present. Considering my spirituality and how it has shifted in the past few years is worth the time it takes to type this out.
If you’ve traveled a similar (or wildly different) path, feel free to comment and tell your story. Thanks for reading.