God is like a song. Having a personal relationship with God is often considered the hallmark of a true Christian. Having one, in my experience, is like having a forever playing tune inside your head, whose lyrics and beat provide a certain rhythm and guidance which dictates every conscious, intentional movement of your life. Departing from faith is like no longer being able to hear the music, even in moments when you strain to try to discern something, even in moments when you watch others dance to the music so easily.
(Sometimes people stop “hearing the music” and choose to continue to be a part of the faith anyway. I believe the concept is sometimes referred to as “the dark night of the soul.”)
In The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, the main character receives bells on Christmas morning from Santa Claus. His parents think the bells are broken because they can’t hear the ringing. The truth is though, only true believers in Santa Claus can hear the bells. Its like that. I can’t hear the bells anymore.
My Poppa, my Mom’s father, just passed away this morning. Right now is a moment when hearing the God song again would be helpful, but it no longer plays for me. Its strange for me, a relatively new sensation, dealing with tragedy and loss without belief in a higher power. Its almost awkward, because its difficult to try and figure out where to direct my thoughts and emotions.
I think instead I will give myself permission to do nothing this afternoon, to take the time to reflect and journal (as I’m doing now), to take the time to process and figure out how to support my Mom. I will remind myself that I am loved, by so many people, and by myself. And I will call someone if necessary. And I will eat a cookie.