I think I have, as blogger Libby Anne put it so succinctly, salvation anxiety.
I think about all the people growing up in isolated religious bubbles being taught that this way is the only way to faith (yes, I’m using “faith” as a verb). Meanwhile, 90% of all the other Christian denominations are insisting they’re doing it wrong.
And the most tragic thing is that those people won’t find out they did it wrong until after they die, and then it’s too late to change anything.
Maybe I’m doing it all wrong, too.
I just reread Still: Notes on a Mid-faith Crisis by Lauren Winner. She’s one of those authors whose books tell me new things each time I read them, and this re-reading was no different. She writes, “The reason I still continue calling myself a Christian is because this narrative of faith says more of who I am than anything else.”
I sat in my library chair turning those words over and over in my mind. Who I am, who I am…what does that mean, exactly?
I thought about how I wish, just once, I could go off on somebody who gleefully exclaims, “God made my cancer disappear!” It says something about the depth of my own wickedness that I have literally had to walk away to keep from doing this, because my own father’s death is still so raw. On one hand, maybe I would be justified in doing so, as I’m still in that first-year grieving period, and you can get away with all kinds of things by blaming your actions on grief. On the other hand, I couldn’t do that to someone who has received the best possible news, because remission is no small thing, and I don’t want to be that person who enjoys pissing in other people’s Cheerios.
But the temptation is still there, which makes me think, Woman, you really do need Jesus.
And so I stay. It’s not in my nature to just walk away from something that invokes all kinds of questions. I’m that plucky little person to keep on pressing, keep on challenging, because simple, pat answers do not placate me, and only when I have the raw truth will I give up, no matter how unpleasant it might be.
To paraphrase Winner, when I was baptized, I was not promising to believe this story forever. Rather, I was promising that this is the story I will wrestle with forever.
If you liked this post, check out my memoir, Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter.