There is life “A.D.” At least that’s what I think; that’s what I believe, both in the “traditional Christian” way of the hope awaiting those who have believed in Jesus Christ as savior, and the more abstract, romantic way involving still-alive people, carrying part of us through their lives, as remembrance. (Whether that “us” bit they tow along is positive or negative is another matter). Perhaps a habit, an idea, a dream; a moral standard or an affinity towards a particular sports club. I would say we certainly live well beyond our earthly allotment of time.
That being said, sometimes this life, this present one seems too lonely, and that’s a shame. Now, I could save myself (and readers) the pity session but since I have stated there is life “A.D.” (this time meaning “After Denmark”. Read Day 1, Year O for an explanation) I won’t, for reflecting on loneliness is part of life too, right? right?
The thing is, a few days ago I read this blog entry from a former renowned, die-hard vegan. ( here‘s her post, referred from another great blog, just like mine… ha! – but wait! don’t go there just yet!) In there she chronicles her painful and at times lonely journey back to being omnivore due to health issues. I say lonely because it seems from her comments, her fellow die-hard vegans, who might have cheered for her as long as she ‘belonged’, left her alone and even attacked her when she needed them most. Some of these people secretly confided her with their utmost secrets, like eating the occasional egg or meat, ‘cheating’ at restaurants or so. They would not, however, be as courageous as she was and publicly admit it; they simply couldn’t voice their struggles for fear of being judged, excluded or even hurt – at least verbally – as she was, and that is precisely the point I want to touch, for such appears to be the case in more than one sphere, culture or way of life.
It appears to me we are nowadays, more prone to ‘freely’ express ourselves yet at the same time more and more afraid of voicing views which will grant us awkward looks, social stigma or harsh judgement. While I find the general society (regardless of nationality or class) a tougher one to live in, there seem to be rising expectations of people doing the right thing and being ‘good’ but without providing any values, role models or structures that will help attain this. Then, when shortcomings are exposed, struggles uttered and sorrow admitted, it is oh so easy to become jumping jacks, coming out of nowhere, pointing out deficiencies, but almost never offering some grace and mercy.
As a believer in God and Yeshua (Jesus) I’ve experienced this. I’ve been in both sides, the judging and the struggling one. I have thought I’d do it better than the guy next door, but I’ve also struggled; struggled with my faith, afraid of letting anyone know I can’t fully comprehend how Noah could fit so many animals in the ark or why God allowed the Israelites to kill. Reading the account of my ex-vegan fellow blogger and feeling identified- albeit not in my food choices – with her, I can claim the ‘closet-struggler’ syndrome (yes, I just came up with the name) to be one permeating all ways of life and all kinds of people. Therefore the question: Are we all alone here? hundreds of thousands of strugglers, hiding from millions of unidentifiable judges? And are there really millions? Could it be just that most of us look like them, but are in reality all part of the same group? the group that secretly battles their doubts, fears, decisions and so? I suggest that might be the case.
To this day I fight my daily and to this day I question the sometimes vast gray areas of my faith. To this day I have, at times, little black to hold on to and to this day my heart breaks for those who can’t sincerely say, “I don’t know… I’m not sure”. From this day on, I am deciding to welcome such a thought, to say, “It’s OK, you don’t have to know it all”.*
* Sara Groves summarizes it better in her song Mystery… and then she also has a beautiful voice