Disillusionment, it happens to us all. It is that place from which one could build a stronger belief system by examining what it is we truly want to depend upon when things get tough.
This could be viewed as a ‘crisis of faith’ and could have been a slippery slope heading to disbelief. I chose to see it as a place to re evaluate, dig in, hold on, and do some checking into what I believed truly. Or find out if it was a belief system belonging to someone else that I had acquired.
It was there that I truly found out who God was, who Jesus was and what job the Holy Spirit had to do in my life.
I read books from authors who had dealt with similar situations. People who had questioned what they were being told when it didn’t conform to their expectations, and who had also gone on a faith search.
Philip Yancey was a man raised in the 70’s in southern Baptist churches who had a head on collision with the thinking of the black and white issue. C.S. Lewis came from an atheist background and found his way to faith. I was in good company.
My dilemma had to do with what the ‘church’s view was toward people in crisis: People in addiction – people of divorce. I had been raised in a church and a way of thinking that if you prayed hard enough, hung in there long enough, you could overcome all manner of things. But what if the person in the marriage kept up the abuse knowing the partner wouldn’t leave? What I saw instead were families torn by abuse, pain, and violence that was being tolerated because to divorce was ‘unchristian’. It put me at odds with my church family because that was me. I knew in my heart that God was more forgiving and tolerant than the ideas I was hearing. I pulled away from church, but kept my faith in God. For 10 years I lived alienated from a body of believers, until the day when I found out about Washington Cathedral.
Many changes had occurred in my life in those 10 years. I now had a grand-daughter from a teenage daughter which has been one of the best things that could have happened to our family. Through that, my daughter found her path, embraced motherhood and raised a fantastic daughter. I had remarried and found a loving man but one who came with some brokenness of his own. Washington Cathedral was a body of believers who had a big, collective heart. They accepted people who came broken, hurting, questioning and loved us. I have never regretted the day we walked into the sanctuary, looked at the waterfall and felt “at home” and in the resulting 12 years it continues.
This series we just finished on ‘Disillusionment’ has caused me to look back over my journey and see just how healthy it is to ask these questions and have the discussion. We each have a journey to take, it is so much easier to know we are on it with fellow travelers who can appreciate what we are going through without criticism, but with the understanding that life gets messy and that when it gets really tough, God is there loving us and waiting for us to ask for help. It also helps to have people to talk to who give good counsel from personal experience. I believe that makes for a healthy church. One that recognizes our human frailties offers the solutions and supports that one while time is taken to get to that place of acceptance.