When a Christian Blogger Doubts: Permission to Walk Away

All photos today courtesy of Katrina
She reminds me of a time when I had so much hope that even the dying flowers on the sill lit me up with faith. She holds the camera steady, checks her settings; sighs at the image that flashes up on the screen. I've started her off on a joy hunt from the time she was an infant, and it strikes me that she has perfected it in ways I haven't yet.

She tells me, with elation sparkling through her words like bubbles through champagne, that you can get rid of all the mess with your camera. Hold the angle just right, and dusty piano keys glitter and gleam. At ten, my daughter has learned that happiness is mostly a matter of perspective.

I feel the warmth of her candle next to me, and it brings me peace. She is demonstrating a lesson I've worked for decades to learn - one that still slips through my grasp. She accepts imperfections but it doesn't take away from her joy.

I've come up against one giant imperfection in my life story. It has threatened to wreck havoc on the delicate framework of joy that I've built around this yellow house and the people within her four walls. I remember worrying about this at 14, 19, 22. How do you quit living a double life? How will people react when you parade your ghostly and imperfect reality into the light for the very first time?

People around me ask for grace. They ask me to wait. They ask me to pray. I love them, and so I do. But faith has gone like a forgotten misty morning, and with it most of my suppositions about how the world works. What is good and what is bad. What is worthy or unworthy. Beautiful or ugly. Truth or lies.

I try to focus on what I do know rather than what I don't. Every now and then, I wonder if I waited long enough. But 34 feels like long enough to wait for a whisper in the darkness. The logic in me quells the fear: I believed once, so I am giving myself permission not to now. Fighting against my disbelief was just carrying me farther from myself and the very peace I sought. Instead I accept it. Maybe my disbelief has been trying to talk sense into me for all these years.

It's scary to give yourself permission to walk away for a while. It's even scarier to admit - and accept - that you are in limbo. But answers seem much less important than joy. The way I figure it, truth exists just fine without me understanding it.

I live now in the concrete, the measurable, the things I can see or hear or feel or smell. I live in bear hugs from children; in snow angels in the crystalline below-zero air; in lectures that wring me out because I pour everything into them. I am finally meeting the world head on. I am out of my cave and here in the world everything looks just a little brighter and a little more hopeful. You and I? Maybe we are the ones to find hope in.