019. Waking Giants

My life is in Disrupt Mode once again! It’s something I don’t love, but am used to. I don’t know to what extent I’m responsible for the instability of my years, and how much of it is inevitable. I think rapid-fire change is difficult to avoid in your twenties, but I could’ve made different decisions if I’d wanted a stiller life.

My disruptions-of-the-month include moving out of my apartment (but on very good terms with my roommate), and considering a job switch. I also recently made the decision to leave my church–not “The Church,” but my specific church.

The move from my church was precipitated by many things, but primarily by the church’s emphatic and extra-biblical dictums on gender roles (in relationships, in the church, and in society), and its absolutist approach to Christian praxis in general. I might write more about that later–about my experiences with authoritarian Christianity–but that will require levels of clear-headedness, forgiveness, and tact that I don’t currently have.

While I know leaving was the right decision, the weeks since have sometimes been heavy. I’d like to remain friends with many of the people at my old church, but some of those relationships carry a new distance, and are marked by hurt on both sides. I’ve also been feeling the disquiet of leaving a tight-knit community, even a community that I couldn’t support ideologically or culturally. You feel stripped and hairless; you feel exposed to the elements. You feel too-contrarian. You doubt the convictions that made you leave.

You spend hours sorting through the things you will keep and the things you won’t, like clearing out desk drawers: These are belief systems I refuse to carry with me, these are truths I will cling to with my life. Sometimes, without thinking, you crouch into a defensive position, a snarling cornered wild-dog; you have to remind yourself that there’s nothing fighting you.

I sometimes picture our lives like giants, slumbering on the earth. They almost look like mountains from far away: solid and strong and immutable, and so mountain-like that you can tell the time by when the sun grazes their shoulder-ridges. You start thinking maybe it’s not a giant, maybe it’s just a mountain, planted to the planet. Then the giant wakes, moves, stretches, rises, and you realize with half-dread and half-love that it’s been alive all along–it’s no longer a mountain, or at least its contours have changed for good. Now maybe it’s walking the earth with the force of a buffalo stampede. You step out of its way, you watch its shape against the sky and feel the ground rumble all around you. And if it ever comes to rest again, it will be a different mountain, still breathing and apt to reawaken soon. Don’t be fooled. If our lives feel stable as mountains, they’re not; that illusion will break at any moment.