My friends always tell me, “Give it time. It’s only been a year.”
Only been a year? No way! No fuckin way!
I can’t believe it’s only been a little over a year since I completely left religion. Since I stopped going to church, stopped doing ministry, and utterly stopped believing in God. It now feels like years since I made these changes. I feel I have aged so much in these past 14 months. I’ve gained wrinkles, lost hair and countless hours of sleep. I’ve spent hours, perhaps days searching and researching religious and spiritual topics. I’ve spent time with friends in coffee shops, on the phone, and in various restaurants around my city picking other people’s brains about their view and beliefs. I’ve watched talks extensively over the internet and in person about other people struggles with religion. It’s been exhausting, painstakingly exhausting.
And I have to continually remind myself that this colossally huge change occurred only a year ago. I want so badly to be further along. I want concrete answers and true beliefs. I want friends who are on the same spiritual page as me, not just Christian friends who sort of understand where I am coming from. I want a partner who is similar to me and can fill in the lonely gaps that creep up on me daily. I want a community of like minded individuals who strive towards wholeness and health. I want my job to focus on helping others who are leaving religion or changing their worldviews. I want to be out of therapy. I want the triggers and nightmares and anxiety to stop. I want to have moved on.
Move on? Is that even a thing? Is it even real? Or is it just something people say like “I’ve gotten over it” or “It no longer affects me.” I think that is bullshit, well mostly…maybe… I’m not sure. I can see how my triggers have lessened over the months. Now, when I am triggered, I can usually keep functioning and deal with it later, as opposed to having full on panic attacks like I had last year. I have less anger and animosity towards my former pastors and leaders. I’m happier and less depressed but I’m not sure I can ever fully move on. My past will always be there, haunting the corners of my mind, but I long for the day when it will be just that, the past, something I went through. A time that molded me into who I am now but it does not define me, at least not anymore. Maybe I will be able to say “I moved on.” Maybe the impossible will finally be possible. Maybe in time.
Give it time.