Maybe I was Never a Heathen After All

 

“You know how sometimes you have a fight with me in your head, and I don’t know anything about it,” my husband asked me this morning. “What if that’s what you have going with ‘The Church’ – what if you are mad at them, but they aren’t even in it, and they’re not mad at you at all?”

Yesterday, I wrote a passionate poem and shared it in a private group, and one of my book study buddies mentioned how she’s not a Christian, but she can really get behind Jesus and the things he said, and how he treated people. And I realized that I might have sounded like I was bashing, and I don’t want to be bashing. I don’t have any reason to bash or be angry. I have a lot of gratitude toward my family, my mom and dad, the way I was raised, even the churches I was raised in. That I have never been able to find a community as rich and beautiful with wisdom and laughter as the ones my parents developed around themselves is a testament to how amazing my parents are – not anything against anyone else.

That I stopped looking after many years, because it was painful, and I didn’t want to keep searching for something that may not be there, doesn’t mean I don’t believe. In fact, it’s just dawning on me now. My yearning all this time has been a mourning for something that was lost, and it was never lost. Dang me, and my twisted brain. I stopped going to church and thought it was because I was mad. I just didn’t want to keep trying to find Narnia. I grew up with such a beautiful version, and the buildings I attended as an adult couldn’t compare, and I’ve got this incredible imagination, and I have Aslan (both the Narnian version, and the version for here on Earth), and I have poetry, and the wisdom writings and Scripture and so much beauty. I am a mystic. I always have been. I become incredibly moved by a passage, and I would try to share that with people in the pews with me, and they looked at me like I had horns. It is not easy to find community, and I found it in my artist friends, my poets. I call them mine, because I love them so much. They have become my place of worship, my sacred space. There is much joy and wonder, there is challenge, there is crying out to be real, to get right, to forsake that which doesn’t serve.

I haven’t picked up my Bible for years, but I remember the words calling out to me, reaching in and tugging at me, sending me spinning over a turn of phrase, the feeling that a deep voice had just whispered love over me. That I still have my Bible tucked in my bookshelf along with a wealth of poetry, that I haven’t sent it packing, that I haven’t put it away tells me that it never had any intention of leaving me.

Maybe I was never a heathen after all. This is the biggest epiphany for me. I feel foolish. And I’m so glad that I have a husband who knows how to speak truth to me, and help me sort out my meandering mind.

Photo from my camera – of a sunset over our back field. It seemed fitting for a moment of realization with choirs singing in the background!

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Early on in my art practice, I said that I didn’t need a religion, I had art. I said facetiously, but now know that weaving, my media, is my Way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liesl Garner says:

      I believe that artists especially have a close relationship with Creation and Creator! Thank you.

      Like

  2. coachcjlantier says:

    I’m not a Christian, either, but I agree with your friend — there’s a lot that I can “get behind.” It took me awhile to realize that, though. I kind of threw the baby out with the bathwater when I left my church. I can’t wait to see where you go with this new insight!

    Like

    1. Liesl Garner says:

      I’m just so relieved to not have anger and hurt and resentment coiled up at the back of my mind ready to strike. It frees me to be joyful, to be loving, to be accepting and gracious and encouraging. It frees me to see my children with fresh eyes, to adore my parents even more than I already do. I had just thought there was a wedge between us, and I do not think that was real. It was imagined and played out for a while in my own head.

      Like

  3. Cathy says:

    Very thought provoking.

    Like

  4. Amy Putkonen says:

    Oh my gosh. This is so beautiful, Liesl! You’ve made my day!

    Like

    1. Liesl Garner says:

      Thank you. Your comment back to me after that poem was one of the catalysts for this epiphany. And, of course, my Rockin’ Awesome Husband!

      Like

  5. kimberly says:

    I love hearing your process.

    Like

    1. Liesl Garner says:

      Thank you. My thoughts always seem to untangle themselves as they cross my lips or pencil tips – a saying my dad taught me.

      Like

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