Dark Night of the Love Story

Here’s my next confession: God hasn’t always made me swoon.

My love story with God resembles Pride and Prejudice a little too much for my Elizabethan ego, with me being the sole bearer of the prideful and prejudicial attributes. Here’s a little taste of the events leading up to our Trial Separation.

The Beginning of the End (which is actually my beginning)*
April 14, 2006

The last night of my semester abroad, I sat alone at the kitchen table. After one of the program facilitators read my class journal—which was littered with f-bombs, doubt, and confusion—he suggested that I take some time to have a DTR with God: “Define the Relationship.” It sounded like a good idea at the time, and the date was set for my last night in Costa Rica. I had actually been nervous as I tiptoed down the narrow hall of the quiet house, journal in hand, half-expecting a miracle as I screeched back the dark wooden chair to sit. I stared into the space across the table from me, as if God was actually sitting there ready to discuss our future and “what went wrong.” We’d talk things over, I’d put Him back in his place, and I would go on with my life, I had hoped.

But I wasn’t talking to God. I didn’t even know if I believed in God. I found it pretty difficult to define the relationship when there wasn’t a relationship in the first place. Instead of a DTR that night, I only found that I couldn’t put God back in a box no matter how hard I tried. I had outgrown my childlike faith and it hurt. In my journal I wrote to the God I was not speaking to, that was not, in fact, seated in the chair across the table from me as much as I wanted him to be:

How can I relate to a God I can’t define? I want to make a list of goals and rules so I don’t feel so aimless, but I don’t even know why I want to be a better person. I can’t just move on from this painful place of uncertainty and anger just because I want to feel better.

I was paralyzed, trapped. I wanted God, but only to appease my guilt and questions, which only spawned more guilt and questions.

My worst fears had come true—I had lost my faith.

That night I drifted off to sleep scared that I would never find or feel God again.

Spoiler Alert: This is not the end. This post is meant to serve as the “get to know the main character” and “introduce the conflict” part of the plot. I am thankful to report that this night no longer falls at the climax of my story.

*Sneaking in some T.S. Eliot when it’s not even a Tuesday. Yep, I like him that much.


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