I’ve often found myself transported to different scenes in the middle of prayer or meditation. God seems to know that in order to get a message through to my stubborn soul, images seem to hold the key. Visions have become commonplace in my communication with God. Some of these are disturbing and most are confusing riddles that don’t make sense at first. Many have become more clear later on as reassuring encouragements through difficult decisions or experiences. In spring during a staff prayer meeting, I had a vision of drowning in the grace of God, with a voice telling me to inhale and an experience of finding breath in this submerged state. It was only this last fall that this vision seemed to become more relevant, speaking to my present confusion and state.
I would say that the deconstruction of my faith started a number of years ago and its beginning was tied to my mood disorder and a rather long and all-encompassing depressive episode. In an effort to not only understand but to reconcile my Christian beliefs with the reality of my depressive mood disorder, I began to search for a gospel that could transcend a single worldview, background, and human experience, one that reaches beyond my white, cis-gender, hetero, evangelical Christian perspective.
In my quest I soon discovered that I was not alone. The voices of Nadia Bolz-Weber, Rachel Held Evans and Father Gregory Boyle gave me courage and confidence in my pursuit of the divine incarnate, the holy in the humanity. I listened and re-listened to their writing, applying their words like lotion on cracked skin in the dry, Manitoba winter. However, the more I dove into understanding conflicting perspectives and diverse realities, the more cracks appeared. This winter would be long, cold and harsh.
I stayed the course, believing that my pursuit of the Gospel would not be in vain. The God I have encountered, after all, is the God of the world - of the universe - in its entirety. This God and His gospel had to be real and true for everyone, so if it wasn’t real and true for people with different skin colours, different languages, different backgrounds, different socio-economic status, different health than my own, then, was is truly from God?
Every day I run into remnants of my old life; a simpler life where the call from God was clear, truth was absolute and yet somehow attainable by mere mortals, and the Bible had complete answers. On the window sill of my second-floor toilet room sits a jar of blue egg and heart-shaped homemade bath bombs next to a wood slab with finishing nails and yellow string creating a moon and stars. Both were crafts created during young adult drop-in nights, lovingly and carefully planned when things made sense. Inside a decorative, book-shaped box on my concrete, circle coffee table lay a collection of Instax photos from the past year, many with some amazing individuals with whom I have been too anxious to reconnect.
I don’t think I’m done grieving and I’m frustrated by this reality. There is no part of me that wishes to return to what I have lost, and yet it is still a loss that demands to be recognized and thoroughly felt. I think I’ve been “Marie-Kondo-ing” my faith for a while now and there is just a lot of shit that doesn’t bring me joy and is just taking up space in my life. I’ve been hoarding a lot of bad theology that I’m aching to get rid of and I’m just not sure what will be left when I am finished. Some people call this “deconstruction” but it sure feels more violent than that word permits. It feels like drowning and, to be honest, I’m not sure if I’ll find that breath. I’m not sure that my faith will survive. But I will.