This will be the most difficult and liberating blog post I have ever written. People have always commented on my honesty, my openness, my vulnerability, but the truth is: It terrifies me to write about this. But this morning, I am realizing: I have to. I have to. And even though it’s not really about Kiran and his heart, it is, because he and I are connected in ways I can never explain. He is firmly entrenched in my story now, because he has changed me at my very core.
It is National Sibling Day today. I have been remembering my brother this morning, as I listen to encouraging music. I am feeling a lot of things, but I primarily feel thankful for his presence in my life. But thinking of him this morning has taken me back to that dark time in my life, right after losing him. It is similar in so many ways to what I have been experiencing these past few weeks.
I have to back up. I grew up in the church. I asked Jesus to be my savior when I was 5 or 6 years old, and I was the epitome of “good little Christian girl” throughout my childhood and adolescence. Well, for the most part. I was always good at saying the right things, outwardly expressing what I needed to, to be the good Christian. Just like I excelled in school, I excelled in church. I have always been a quick study.
Looking back now, through the lens of life, I can remember many nights, staring up at my ceiling, trying to communicate with God and feeling nothing. I was doing everything I knew to do to have a relationship with him, but I never really felt like I did. I would have never expressed this at that point in my life; it was very important for me to be “perfect” and to please people. I wanted to do everything right.
I continued along this path for a few years after my brother passed away. I knew the things to say, the songs to sing at church … It was important for me to still be that strong person, that perfect Christian. But my bubble had been popped, and none of it made any sense to me anymore. I wouldn’t say that I grew angry with God; I would say, instead, I couldn’t find him. I had trouble before, but definitely after that experience, I just couldn’t find him.
And I did grow angry with the church. As I became more educated about religion and the church, the whole establishment made me furious. I made a very conscientious decision, my junior year of college, to firmly walk away from my faith. I was done trying to say and do the right things; I was ready to face the reality that I just didn’t buy into it anymore. Maybe I never had.
One week ago today, I had a fleeting thought pass through my mind that I never thought would come again: Maybe I should go to church. At the time, I had no idea where that thought came from, and it terrified me. It still does. Now, today, I realize, through a skeptical heart: I am grasping at straws. The threads I have been clinging to in my life are unraveling, and I know something has to change.
The entire time we have been on this road with Kiran, people have been praying for us. I have seen solid faith and love and strength in so many of the other heart moms I have gotten to know. It is a common theme – I feel I stick out, because I don’t talk about God when I talk about our journey. These last few months, I have often thought: Wouldn’t it be great if I had that? If I had faith, if I had something (someOne) to cling to, to believe in, to trust has a plan for all of this? I know the lingo. I know the stories. Wouldn’t it be great if I could? But largely, I felt (and still feel) like I can’t.
My heart has been skeptical and hard for so long against this, I don’t even know where to begin. I may be overthinking it, but I don’t even know if it’s possible for me TO believe, just because I may want to. I don’t pretend to have any idea where this line of thinking may lead me, but I am determined to at least do some spiritual seeking. It will be baby steps for me, for sure. I can’t express how much this terrifies me.
I do know that it’s scarier to remain in the space I’ve been in these last few difficult weeks than it is to take a step forward in any direction. So I’m taking one step forward, right now, by writing this out and asking: Please, help me get started. Tell me about your church and why you love it. Pray for me. Send me your favorite Bible passages. Share with me your honest, vulnerable story of faith. If I believe anything with all my heart, it is that community has become one of the most important things in my life. I do not know how I would still be standing if it wasn’t for the heart community, my family, this online community of people who are reading this (some I have never even met), my friends, and even the healthcare professionals we see on a regular basis. I believe in community. Wholeheartedly and without skepticism.