I believe in God. I do not know if I want to believe. I was seventeen when I decided to follow after the God who demanded nothing less than my life in pursuit of Him. I hated this world so that it would become less and He would be more. I had several ecstatic experiences that were a sweet touch between the here and the world without end. I wept private tears speaking in private tongues while clutching an antique end table salvaged for my prayer closet. I heard from Him speak confusion and reordered life for it was the day that the Lord had made. In the dew we walked.
Then He did no longer. A few years later, the vision collapsed when whispered words were lies. I clutched nothing but the faint memories of dying dreams. I had no tears left to cry and ain’t nary heard a comfortable word. Wounds festered that He promised to heal. I bled to the silence of earth and heaven echoing in my head. I ask, where were you? While like an indignant old man with corn kernels in his beard, my faith is wheeled into life support for a death that lingers.
I stand around that bed. It becomes too much at times. I want to bash my head against the wall and scream, “Just die, damn you!” and rip the flesh of my arms underneath my own fingernails. I really just want to be done with it and walk away so that someone else must say the Requiem and choose the hymns and lay out the proper vestments and point the correct chants that we’d sing over my dead faith under the black pall in front of the altar. My hand hovers over the plug, though. I blink.
Crises of faith are supposed to lead you back to sureness: either to a reinforced belief or towards a triumphantly faithful Atheism. The later says you must disavow those tactile experiences of the Divine. You were fooling yourself, you must say, clutching a closet’s darkness. Doubt becomes just another form of belief as the unsure questions are packed away with the rest of the dead old man’s stuff in the attic. I believe in my doubts. I have doubts about my doubts.
I still let the old man linger. I listen to his ragged breaths, slow heartbeat. If there is such a thing as resurrection, that is Christ’s business—not mine. But, I cannot look away. Doubt and belief, ecstasy and lingering pain are one around this bed. I don’t have to make sense of my life. I don’t have to make it fit your understanding or even understand it myself. I just bear witness to what I see, what I feel. I feel nothing. I am nothing. I am everything. I spill over into the world. Let’s just get this over with.
If your days last long on this earth, you will find yourself saying words that would have been abhorrent to you years before. Nasty, vile words suddenly taste sweet to your lips. Snatching the me’s out of time, I could lay them end to end and watch them argue. I have lived long enough to hold every opinion. I’ve discovered the only thing I hate is myself.