7: Hopelessness (cont.)
I felt unmoored. I found a new church. I helped a bit with a “postmodern” service the church leaders cancelled because it wasn’t reaching enough non-Christians. I went to a singles Bible study with dreadful hours of teaching about Calvinism. I continued to go on Sundays because my faith – my relationship with God – was incredibly important to me, but I felt like I couldn’t relate to most of the people there, and wondered if they could understand me – sad, struggling to believe.
I longed for a life outside the stuffy, sickly sweet and often non-intellectual spirituality of the evangelical Christian culture. I hated that I had gone to a Christian college, worked for Christian organizations. I began to feel that any group of professional Christians would provide unexpectedly stellar examples of incompetence and, at times, pure meanness. I wanted out. I desperately wanted to go back and re-write my life – to go to a state school, get a masters, study abroad, survive in the “real” world.
I had not married – as a somewhat conflicted semi-feminist, I had dreamed of and planned for and wanted marriage since I was a lanky, brown-skinned girl winning faux beauty contests at friends’ birthday parties. I realized in my twenties that I couldn’t let this disappointment define my life – and even wrote a somewhat successful book for Christian singles about choosing contentment and learning to thrive in an unexpectedly single life – but I still ached for the meaning and compassion a husband would provide, for the chance to make my own family.
And then there was the writing career that seemed impossible. I had been freelancing for years, had published the book, spoken to singles groups around the country. If anything, I felt the writing was my gift, but trying to write and speak and dream about these possiblities in addition to my fulltime job was more than my worn-out self could handle. I had started saving hundreds of dollars from each paycheck, but the economics of freelancing seemed impossible and I wondered how depressing it would be to try to sit at home and write and attempt to earn a living.
Everything in my life was dark, stifling. I needed light and air.