conversation- not debate

I had lightbulb realization this morning. When talking with believers about my questions and doubts, I have a very specific list of things I want and don’t want in the conversation.

  1. I do not want you to try to save my soul. I do not want you to try and convince me of your viewpoint. Please stop. It sounds desperate, and irritating.
  2. I do want to hear why you believe what you believe. I am interested. I would not have asked otherwise. 
  3. I want to know specifics about why you think what you think, and how you came to draw these conclusions. Give me something tangible, measurable, concrete.
  4. I do not want to hear catchphrases and churchy platitudes. They are not well thought out. They are not real. They are not your words. Use your words.
  5. I want you to listen when it’s my turn to talk. I don’t want to debate you. I am not Christopher Hitchens. I want to have a nice conversation where we share our ideas and remain friendly and courteous.
  6. I do not want to convince you that you are wrong. Really. I don’t. 
  7. I do want you to acknowledge the times when faith does not make sense. I want you to honestly examine your faith and see the holes in it that I see. That doesn’t have to change your opinion, maybe you are still capable of faith at that point. But I am not. Can you just acknowledge that faith isn’t easy to have, it isn’t reasonable, and not believing is not a flaw in me? 

That doesn’t seem like an unreasonable list.

Comfort (dibs and room service)

This has been one whopper of a crazy-ass week. Family issues, major exam, and yesterday… my entire TOWN lost power. That’s right. The town. All of it. Power dropped out in the afternoon and didn’t come back on for almost 30 hours. By that time, I had thrown in the towel, grabbed my kiddos and vacated to the nearest hotel (70 miles away). My graduate school courses are online, so wifi is a must, especially on a test day!

This morning we got checked in, swam and enjoyed the sun, ate a grossly huge lunch, and all the while I was eyebrow deep in research articles and statistics. Yay. After 5 hours of classes and a truley challenging exam, I was finished with today.

I flopped down on the bed and thought weakly, “need wine… ice cream… or wine…” Then I remembered I was in a hotel. So, I ran up to the front desk, bought three cartons of Dibs, and flopped back onto the bed to scarf them while we watched Castle reruns.

This is my comfort moment. I have my kids, ice cream, and comfortable unchallenging TV. Is there anything on earth more comforting than this? Probably. But right now, right here, in this moment, in my life… no.

I have been spending a lot of time and energy thinking and feeling and worrying about my “loss of faith” or my “struggle” or my “existential crisis”- whatever you want to call it. But the fact of the matter is (and this might be quite telling, but I am too tired to examine it) I have a great life, I am doing things I have always wanted to do, and I have plenty of people to love in my life, and they love me too. And that is enough. 

So often, I can get wrapped up in my head and in my emotions and I lose sight of the wonder and sweetness and joy that is in each moment of my life. Tonight, as I soak up the air conditioning and ice cream and TV and snuggles, I am grateful for right here and right now. And I have no questions, and need no answers.