when i was a teen – when i was most in love with jesus (and really did think of him as my boyfriend – without all the kissing) – that verse “to live is christ; to die is gain” was extremely real to me. and it has stuck with me until just about a month ago.
dying is better than living. in fact dying is the REAL living. i really believed it. a lot of people still believe it.
i have been to funerals that were celebratory – yay! he’s dead! he died of a brain aneurysm! he’s with jesus now! never mind that he has a grieving widow and five-year-old son and won’t experience another minute of this life.
i believed it so much, that when a girl in my dorm committed suicide, i breathed a secret sigh of relief – she was in the arms of jesus and was done struggling.
i believed it so much, that while i was attending a very conservative seminary/grad school, i considered going out to the crappy tennis courts, pouring gasoline on myself, and lighting myself on fire – because there were “sins” i just couldn’t stop, and this world was a dark place anyway.
i believed it so much, that when i was first doubting the jesus thing, my angst of not knowing the truth was so great that i considered ending it all just so i would know the answer. i hate suspense – not knowing.
a mom drowning her babies in a bathtub because this world is so bad, i never thought that, but i get moms who do. i know those thought patterns. they are real.
i never came close to making actual plans of suicide – these were just fantasies for me. i was not that mental. the point is that i wasn’t close to crazy, but i thought this way. it was logical.
more than one person in my family has been hospitalized with a “nervous breakdown” because they were afraid of sex – or just afraid of the wrong boy asking them to a middle school dance.
for me to live . . .
i look back and feel sorry for that girl who was taught to be afraid of this world – afraid to sneak out and go to a high school dance, afraid of kissing a boy (or a girl), afraid of going to a secular university, afraid of making non-christian friends, afraid of drinking a glass of wine, afraid of reading a book that wasn’t written by the right kind of christian.
it was only about a month ago that i decided to “try on” atheism – let my thoughts finally, seriously go there. i was afraid. i braced myself. would life become meaningless? hopeless?
oh. my. god. dumping jesus was stunning – like getting glasses for the first time. this life. this precious life. i had no idea.