- Vol. 04
- Chapter 10
He sits at the back and all the words drift over his head. He doesn’t know when he lost his faith. It must have happened so gradually that he didn’t notice until one day none of it made sense anymore and none of the words made him feel better like they used to. At one time he would leave the church fired up, full of…what? The Holy Spirit? Whatever, it kept him going through the week. Now he was in the wilderness of his faith and it had been a whole lot longer than forty days and forty nights.
As the Eucharistic prayers begin a dread comes over him. He’s lost God. He tries to tell himself that God hasn’t lost him, but how does he know? What would he do now? His faith had been strong once. Was everything he believed in a lie? Had his whole life been a lie? And how could he live without God? Did he need to? Maybe he could keep God and ignore the rest. That felt better, safer because he couldn’t imagine his life without God in there somewhere.
His mind drifts as blackness and panic seize him. All those books he’s read, all those Bible study classes he’s attended and retreats he’s been to, the prayers. They weren’t helping him now. They were worthless. He’d been living with a doctrine and rules that made no logical sense. Why had he not seen it before?
He takes the bread and the wine through habit. What else would he do? Still, he feels guilty, an impostor, an unbeliever. He returns to his seat thinking about all the rituals, all the rules. Who made them? Then he thinks about Druids and Egyptians. They had rituals too. Everyone believes in something. Even atheists have beliefs – that belief in a god is rubbish and that you are on your own. There is no grand plan for people.
His eyes rove over the rows of seats, the altar, the icons, the cross, the stained glass he loves even now. With a sigh he leaves.
WildernessPeople smile at him, shake his hand. They obviously can’t tell by looking at him that he’s lost his faith. He chats about his upcoming holiday, but can’t express how empty he feels inside. I am lost, he thinks. Would the Good Shepherd search him out and save him? No, what nonsense is that!
He walks into the sunshine and breaths in the sweet summer air. If God is anywhere he is out here where it all began. He isn’t sure he wants to throw God out with the bathwater. It seems so drastic. Maybe he’ll keep him after all. Hedge his bets. Just him. Not the rest. Just in case. Where is the harm in that?