"Can I come with you to run errands," my teenager asked me the other day.
I should have been suspicious. What teenager wants to go run errands with their mom on a Saturday morning rather than sleeping in. We climb into the car and head to the Library with Michaels, Best Buy, Total Wine, and Target next on the list in that order. "Well, I wanted to talk to you about something..." he says as we are heading out of the apartment complex. I don't know what I was expecting. Perhaps he wants to share some intimate detail about his life that he doesn't want to share with husband. Perhaps he has a Christmas gift plan for husband and wanted to come along in hopes that we would buy it. Nope.
"Have you ever considered that God might be real." This insulting question has been asked before in my home by this same kid. "Ummm...I used to believe he was real," was my reply. "So yes, I considered it and believed it for a very long time." He then proceeded to try and convince me that because he was convinced there was a god, because he "just knows" I should believe too. I calmly explained to him that personal experiences are just that, personal. Just like I can't ever understand what he is going through as a kid in foster care, I also cannot form my beliefs around someone else's experiences. Now, I know (and you do too if you have been reading this blog for any significant amount of time) that this kid doesn't know shit about what he believes. Sure, he believes there is a god, but he has never read a single holy book, has never had a any kind of spiritual awakening or encounter, knows absolutely nothing about philosophy, theology, or tenant of faith. He hasn't attended a church in over two years and seems to be unconcerned about connecting to one. In fact, I would say that he has basically created his own religion that centers around horror movies, urban myths, with a smattering of Christianity thrown in there so we know which god he actually wants to believe in. So my respect for this kid's "beliefs" is admittedly low.
He then tried to convince me to take a six week Angel Course on-line that is only $147. I told him that it was a rip off and anyone who tells him differently is...wait for it...selling something. Do they have evidence for these angels that you are supposed to be in contact with? "They have personal testimonies." Nope, I need something more than that. I spent my whole life being told to believe in something that there was very little evidence for. I am not going to spend that much money on something, to do something that I don't even care about. "You don't care if you see angels?" he asks, shocked. Nope. If angels exist, which there is no evidence to back that up, I don't really see why it would matter if I did see them. Then I asked him why this was so important to him. "Because I am having doubts myself and I figure if I can get you to believe, then I will too." Ahhh. So I explained again that one's faith is very personal. That I cannot live his faith for him. If he wants to believe there is a god or angels or whatever, he can, but he cannot force me to believe them to make himself feel better.
Then we talked a bit about confirmation bias. You really want this stuff to be real huh? He nods his head. When you go online, you only seek out information that supports what you believe right? Another nod. Have YOU ever considered that you could be wrong? Or ever thought to look for information that doesn't back up what you believe? He stares at me in horror. No. Never. He would never read anything by anyone who told him that god wasn't real. Then you my friend are caught in a trap of confirmation bias. You only read things by people who agree with you, only surround yourself with people who believe like you, only frequent websites with people who believe like you. And you are doing it out of fear that you will lose your faith or that it could change.
Finally, I calmly told him that I know he didn't know me when I was a Christian, but I really really did believe. I had dedicated my life to my religion. I attended church several times a week, volunteered, was a mentor, sang on the worship team, led small groups. I believed all of it. And I surrounded myself with confirmation bias too, because I had been taught that everyone else was wrong and was just trying to lead me astray. You know what really led me astray though? He shakes his head. He doesn't want to know. I tell him anyway. The Bible. I read the entire Bible...again....and this time I was honest with myself about the things that didn't make sense. I don't share those things with you or husband because it is up to you to find those things yourself. I do NOT try to make you lose your faith because I know how important that is to people. How personal. And I'll be honest, I do find that your constant attempts to get me to believe what you believe to be very disrespectful of my beliefs. How about this? After you have read at least three holy books all the way through, and two books by authors who don't believe the same things you believe, you come back and talk to me. I'm sure it will be enlightening.
When I got home, I went to my room to vent to husband, because frankly I was pissed. I do not appreciate this kid who knows absolutely nothing about religion trying to convert me based on a "feeling that there is a god". It's insulting. Husband then tells me that son told him this plan and he has tried to dissuade him, to no avail. Did you tell him how rude it was? Yes, but he wouldn't listen. Did you tell him that I WAS a believer for longer than he has been alive. Of course, but he was insistent. I told him not to. I told him you wouldn't like it.
Son has not had this conversation with me since. He has not tried to convince me there is a god, although occasionally tries to convince me that ghosts, poltergeists, demons, devils, etc. are. I always just ask him to provide me with some evidence by a reputable source. What counts as reputable? Scientific studies, organizations that analyze data, photographs with clear images that cannot possibly have been manipulated by photoshop or CGI. So far, he hasn't even bothered to look. I am just glad he has stopped trying to convert me. We have had a few conversations about religion, but I always come at it from the standpoint that he believes this so here is what your religion says about that.
I've always found it really interesting how obsessed some people are with what high school they went to. As if that matters at all if you move away from your hometown or when you are thirty-six. Seriously, when was the last time someone asked you what high school you went to? Mine was four and half years ago when one of my new co-workers found out I grew up in the same town and wanted to know what school I went to. I told her I was homeschooled, but what school district I was in and the conversation moved on quickly. No one cares. Also, contrary to what they tell you in high school and college, as an adult no one cares about your GPA either.
But when it comes to homeschooling, people have some super strong opinions about it. Almost all of those people are rather ignorant on the subject. Their opinions usually start with, "Well...I have a friend whose nephew is being homeschooled and they are super weird" OR "I knew a girl once who was homeschooled and she didn't know how to talk to people". And this is then followed by, "Kids need socialization, because this anecdotal experience I have is proof that homeschooling spawns socially inept losers." I have heard a lot of this talk because once again, people don't really ask what school I attended growing up and they have a stereotype in their head of what a homeschooler looks like.
Here are the stereotypes that are true to some degree:
64% of homeschoolers are doing so for a religious reason with the number being a little higher for providing a more general "moral instruction"
91% are concerned about the school environment
My sister-in-law certainly fits into both of these. Religious and very very worried about her children being shot at a public school. But homeschooling itself is quite a mixed bag depending on where you live, your parent's educational levels, the child, social structures, family dynamics, drive, disabilities, etc. I grew up in a city where there was a very active homeschooling organization. There were "enrichment days" once a week that consisted of either bowling, skating, or ice skating. A very active teen club that met and volunteered twice a month. Field trips were set up and went to Farms, factories, museums, and concerts. Classes were offered in which another homeschooling mom/dad who had an actual degree in a certain field would teach a small class of students in a subject that other parents struggled with. Among the courses currently being offered right now: Art, Shakespeare, Spanish, Local History, Robotics and Coding, Algebra, Debate, British Literature, Chemistry, Civics, Research Writing, Photography, SAT Prep, Orchestra, Intro to Investing and Budgeting, Food & Nutrition, Economics. This ensures that a student whose homeschooling parent sucks at Writing and Literature has a place they can go to for those classes. I took Science courses with them as science equipment is expensive. Here's the thing though, if you live out in the country or there isn't an active homeschool organization near you, things to get tougher. It's also harder on the child if their parent is a homebody and doesn't take them to these places to meet people. It does not mean the child is socially inept.
What does this have to do with unbelief? Those who homeschool are overwhelmingly concerned about their child's moral well-being. I understand this. There is this misconception from outsiders that if a child is homeschooled, even for religious reasons, that the indoctrination becomes too ingrained. That they are destined to become religious fundamentalists. Or that the child always agrees with their parent's decisions. If you go visit the r/exchristian subreddit, you will find several homeschooled teenagers that are just trying to make it to graduation and college, who disagree with how their parents have raised them, and are socially deprived not socially inept. Four of my nephews and nieces are being homeschooled. They have had absolutely no say in the matter I was a senior in high school when I realized that there were some things about what I was taught that I didn't agree with.
Don't you just love this word? For those not in the know, this phrase or wording originates from the story of Samuel in the Bible who heard the audible voice of God and thought it was his master calling at first and then once realizing it was God, offered himself into the service of the Lord to be whatever God wanted him to be. His calling, to be a prophet of the Lord. Now, no one these days (at least no one I have ever known) is claiming to hear the audible voice of God these days. No instead they say they "feel led" to do something. Or they use a series of confirmation biases to prove they are making a good decision. Maybe someone they know has a dream that could maybe, kind of be interpreted to support this thing that someone wants to do. A pastor will pray over them and say something convoluted like, "The Lord is telling me that you are trying to make a big decision. The answer is yes."
Then these people, using this information set forth to do something that, in most cases, is something they really wanted to do. I've heard people say they were called to adopt. Of course, despite this calling it doesn't always mean things work out and then the Christian spins it to say that God told them to do it to teach them a lesson. An example of this would be a friend who said she was called to adopt teenagers, particularly the ones no one wanted. All three of her teenage placements disrupted and didn't lead to adoption. In the end they ended up with three very young boys. They are much better parents to these little ones then they ever were to the big kids. But what happened to that calling? Well, lessons were learned so that must have been what God wanted. Sometimes the calling just doesn't make sense for other reasons. Like my friend Joy who felt called to be a missionary. She is now a tutor for missionary kids who apparently can't attend the local school because terrorist like kidnapping little white kids. She has no teaching degree, but sure, she's qualified to teach your children because who cares about schooling as long as God called her. She has been in the Middle East for almost a decade now. Although she has certainly taught a lot of white missionary kids over the past decade, she has not bothered to learn the local language in all of that time, lives a very private life surrounded by only the other missionaries, and is never sure if she will be able to raise enough money to remain in the country the next year. Nevermind that the country she is in, prosthelytizing is illegal. Not that she can prosthelitize...she doesn't speak the language. What's the point in going to another country to be a missionary if you keep yourself separate from the people and don't learn the language? What are you doing with your life?
I've written before about how my mom often felt God calling her to do things, but they were often, conveniently things that she wanted to do. "Dear God, should I do this thing, even though it will put a hardship on my family?" Oh, I had a dream where I was doing that thing...God must be telling me to do it. At one point I felt like God called me to go to Northern Ireland for a short-term missions trip. The Assemblies of God had a variety of short-term trips they offered each summer. Maybe a dozen or so. I was instantly attracted to North Ireland, a country with a good deal of violence and mystique. Maybe I should go there, I thought. A few weeks later we had a traveling youth team come to the church for a revival of sorts. One of the guys was from North Ireland. I took this as a sign and signed up for the trip the next week. Was it a sign? Probably not. Just a coincidence that the dude was from a country that I really wanted to go to.
My biggest issue with this phrase though is that it is often used to justify bad decisions. Look, I know as well as anyone that sometimes we make decisions that we think will be good and they don't always work out. It is important for our development as people to analyze the situation and see what you could learn from it. God told me to do it so even if things are going to shit, it can't be wrong. I worry for my missionary friend. I worry that she will one day return to the US with no retirement and a lifetime of regrets. I mean, the chances of her ever meeting a man and having children at this point are dismally slim and although this makes her deeply sad, she isn't willing to give up this "calling" in order to better her life. (to be clear, this is what she says she wants. I don't care in the slightest weather someone has children or is married.) Also, she would make a wonderful school teacher at something like a Montessori or Waldorf school and I hate to see her talents wasted. But she doesn't regret this life, right? Wrong. I've heard her regrets, her fears. She knows that this is not the best decision for her to be a happy person, but she can't let go of this calling because that would mean that either God was wrong or she was wrong in what she thought God said.
And let's not forget some of the super shitty people out there that say a god told them to do really shitty things. Like Abraham who believed God told him to murder his son. Or the 9/11 terrorists who believed a god wanted them to wage war against America in his name. Or a woman who beat her son to death because she believed God told her he was possessed by demons. Christians will tell you that they weren't hearing the real voice of God, that those people were clearly insane. But the truth is, the difference is that you are just the kind of person who, if you had those thoughts, you wouldn't act on them. Because you aren't a shitty human being.
I frequent a lot of message boards and Reddit in concerns to being an ex-Christian, in-the-closet, agnostic, atheist, humanist, unbeliever. Perhaps it is the anonymity that I enjoy, just like with this blog. Or perhaps it is knowing that I am not the only person out there who feels the way I do. I'm not sure, but being able to comment that I was homeschooled and grew up without a television and wasn't allowed to watch movies rated over PG and then have someone say, "Hey, that was me too." That's nice.
I also wish my parents knew how such a restrictive environment forced me to become super sneaky and good at lying. I learned very quickly how to delete browser history on the computer. In the trunk of my car, I stored movies that my mom said "weren't allowed in the house", watching them with friends somewhere else. I would read movie reviews about crappy PG movies and tell my mom I went and saw that instead of the actual movie I went to with friends that was PG-13. My husband has remarked that I am a bad liar, but I'm going to be really honest here...he has no idea when I am lying. He thinks he does because I have learned how to "be caught" so that people think I am a bad liar, but the truth is I am extremely good at it. Luckily for him and others, I don't really make a habit of it anymore, but in my youth....I was good. My parents trusted me to not get in trouble, and for the most part, I didn't. I wasn't partying. I've never tried drugs. Never been drunk. But I certainly did things that my super religious parents would NOT have approved of. For a while there, I felt guilty for this and was always asking for forgiveness from God. Never from them because I never told them. Now, I see that my parents were just super lucky that I was a bit of a perfectionist prude who didn't like being out of control. In other words, their strict religious parenting only worked because I had the personality to not go off the deep end. My brothers were not the same. All three went through some serious stages of rebellion. I did think it led to our deconversions (three out of four of us aren't religious now), but it most certainly led to a lot of unnecessary lies.
I recently read an article where the author tries to justify the degredation and violence towards women in the Bible by saying that God was just shining light on sin. Completely neglecting the fact that there were a number of passages where that same God didn't have a problem with rape or treating women, particularly virginal women, like cattle. Numbers 31 Moses and the priests instruct their people to kill all but the Midianite virgins, blaming the non-virginal women, men, and children for a plague. Because that's how disease spreads, right? Deuteronomy 20 has the LORD giving a town to the Israelite victors with instructions to kill all the men and take the women, children, cattle, and plunder. "You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you." Of course, in Deuteronomy you also just have to give silver if caught raping a girl. Meanwhile, if she is found non-virginal at a later date (let's say no one believes her or she keeps it a secret) she can be stoned to death. Zachariah 14 prophesies that a day will come when the LORD will give them women to be ravished, as any good god would do, right?
The article states, "The Bible is also clear: God hates inhumane treatment of women."
But that's just the beginning. These first three paragraphs are setting up for the idea that God loves women by asking them to cover their heads and that in a historical context, there was nothing wrong with it and nothing wrong with it now. When you look at the historical context you will see that almost all women in the area and many men wore head coverings, mostly for practical reasons. It's awfully hot in the Middle East. There is no issue with women wearing head coverings...until you make it a mandate of your religion and suggest that their eternal souls (and virginity) hinge on them wearing it. Although I understand that head coverings in Biblical times had a degree of practicallity, Paul very much made them a religious issue too. The man, who was definitely a man of his times, had some strong opinions about women's role in the church and how they should dress. Notice he never said anything about women wearing short dresses because such a thing would have been unheard of in the time. However, he was dealing with several different cultures, many not of a Jewish background, who did not wear head coverings while praying or in the church. So Paul saw fit to make some rules. And most modern Christians ignore these rules, stating that it was only a specific rule for a specific time. I honestly think Paul would find the modern church extremely disrespectful because he was, despite a big conversion, a man obsessed with making rules. He was after all, the leader of a religious movement, second only to God and a few disciples, some of which he didn't get along with.
Even as a Christian, it never sat well with me this idea that women were subserviant to men. Not only were we considered weaker physically, which is not always the case, but we were also inferior intellectually, religiously, morally, and philisophically. In the Assemblies of God churches I grew up in, women were only allowed to teach children and other women. There was never a co-ed Sunday School class taught by a women to my knowledge. The idea was considered absurd. After all, Paul said, "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent." Again, some churches spin this as meaning that this was just for some specific time, but in context he was writing this letter to his protege, giving the young man advice not just for one community but for building churches in general. In general, Paul who claims authority from a god, is stating that women should not teach or have any authority over men. And this pervasive idea permeated the western world for hundreds upon hundreds of years. Women continued to be nothing more than cattle, a possession to be bought and sold by the men around her.
What I am trying to get at is that the very idea that the God of the Bible cares about women and women's rights in the way we think of in the modern world is absurd. The God of the Bible is not pointing out how depraved (aka sinful) human beings can be, because if he was actually a caring god, there would be explicit passages talking about NOT raping women and how that is abhorrent in the eyes of god. But we know that the reason those passages weren't written is because the men of that time were the ones writing the many parts of the Bible and they didn't give a shit about the other half of the population. They didn't speak out against rape because they didn't have a problem with it. Although some of them knew very intelligent and strong women, this did not change their feelings in regards to being superior. And all those rules that are placed on women in the Bible, like having to cover their heads, can be seen for what it is: An attempt by people of a certain time to continue to assert their authority over a people who had been largely marginalized for a long time. It isn't a lesson about sin, it's a lesson about how people often think that their way of life and their culture are the end all of how things should be done.
"Statistics show 64% of Christians make a decision to follow Jesus before their 18th birthday. That means the teenage years are PIVOTAL for spiritual development. Statistics alo show church involvement is one of the greatest indicators of a future decision to follow Jesus. DO NOT miss this chance to impact the earthly and eternal destiny of your teenagers. It is well worth the cost."
This is the email that I received from my old church a few weeks ago. Sometimes I'll read something from a lifelong atheist who is confused as to whether the church is aware of the fact that they are indoctrinating kids. Is it really indoctrination or are they just trying to teach their morals and values to the next generation? The email above is indicative of my experience in the church. Religions are very aware that if you get 'em while they're young, you will most likely have a believer for life. In fact, that 64% is a bit off since I found several surveys that put the percentage of people who become Christian before they are eighteen at anywhere between 85-94%. They want the children to come. They want to indoctrinate them. They know that the majority of Christians are created before adulthood. Growing up, I was encouraged to bring my friends to church particularly during an extra special service. Like a big youth group shindig with games and food or VBS. Bring your friend to church, suck them in with fun, and then maybe they will bring their parents too. The church I grew up in had a very active bus "ministry" We bused kids in from all over the city and at one point the church owned four buses that went on two trips each to pick up kids. Our youth group was almost the same size as our church at one point.
Now, here is an interesting phenomenon. I was part of a denomination that had a ton of churches in various African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Botswana. When people immigrated from those countries to the US, they often sought out a church familiar to them and that was our church. When I tell people I grew up around Africans, they often think African-American, but that's not true. My eldest brother's best friend growing up immigrated to the US from Ghana when he was fifteen. The interesting thing about mixing in other cultures though is that their priorities are different. In the US church there has always been a big push to build community churches, to suck in the young, and make things fun and exciting in order to be relevant. Africans don't give a shit about any of that mess. As our church became more and more African, the focus of the church began to shift. We stopped busing kids in. We stopped with the fun youth group activities. Most of the African parents believed their children should be in services with them so children's church dwindled and died a slow death. By the time I was seventeen, our youth group consisted of about ten kids, down from the hundred or so that used to come when I was thirteen. The church decided to move locations because it made the Africans nervous to be in the inner city, especially since they no longer cared to be part of the inner city ministries and were keen on separating themselves from the African-American community within it. I left the church and moved somewhere where there were people my age. My parents tried to hang in there for a few more years, but eventually left since there was absolutely no priority towards community building, missions, or outreach. It was internally focused and they seemed to care very little about whether more people joined or not. "God will lead them to us", seemed to be their motto. There was one thing that wasn't different though...the children. Even the African parents fully believed that we needed to suck in the kids while they are young. The only church ministry activity now is a yearly VBS. Because despite the shifting priorities, indoctrinating the children is the most important thing.
This used to make sense to me. Have faith like a child. Children see things more clearly. From the mouths of babes. These were phrases often attributed to the kids in my church. If a child made some statement about heaven or Jesus, "Out of the mouths of babes" was uttered in reverence and awe. Nevermind that the child is literally repeating and copying the things they have been taught. I told my son recently about a dream I had about heaven when I was in my early teens. I was sure that the dream came from god. Going back and analyzing it though, I realize that I was quite literally inundated with Christian propaganda and symbolism. It was a constant topic of conversation in every single circle that I was a part of. I would look through magazines full of religious paintings, talking about which ones we should buy for our house. So is it any wonder that I would have some random dream about heaven one day? The real question is, why wasn't I dreaming about heaven all the time? Of course, my dreams were littered with Christian symbolism, which made my mom believe that God was sending me visions and dreams. Truth was, I was a super imaginative kid and half of the shit I told my mom was completely invented. I don't want to say that I was a huge liar, but I learned fairly early on that talking about god or things that god did would get you positive attention from my parents. With four kids in the house, that attention was hard earned. By the time I was a teenager, I was a master at getting it too. However, I was also good at hiding the things I knew my parents wouldn't approve of. You should have seen the books I was reading.
I know this post is a bit rambling. Childhood indoctrination is no joke, but make no mistake, the church is very aware of what they are doing. They want you and they want your kids. Mostly, they want your kids though. Because once they suck them in and teach them fantasy stories, it is very difficult for them to ever break away.
I live a very intentional life. Thinking, reading, writing, and philosophy are the hallmarks of my life. If I make a choice to not follow a certain societal custom you can bet your ass I have a good reason for it and have thought through this decision. My kid understands none of this as he has never analyzed anything in his entire life. Recently we have this conversation:
Teen: Why do you say that? Why don't you say bless you?
Me: Do you know what gedundheit means? It means good health. It makes more sense to say that, then bless you because bless you or God bless you is a leftover superstition back when people believed you were sneezing our your soul. I see no point in saying bless you because 1) I am not the one who is blessing them and 2) I don't believe there is anyone out there who is blessing them.
Teen: But everyone says it. It's just a saying.
Me: So is gesundheit.
Teen: That's stupid. You don't have to mean anything by it or believe in a god to say it. It's just polite.
Me: So is gesundheit. And I am wishing them something that means immensely more to me. Good health. Why wouldn't you want to wish good health on them?
Teen: Well, this is what I believe.
Me: Is it? Is it part of your religion to believe in people sneezing their souls out?
Teen: Well...noooo. But it is polite.
Me: I am aware that you believe it is polite. I don't think it matters one iota. Absolutely nothing will happen if you don't say it. And frankly my dear, it's kind of weird that you do it to every stranger we walk by, even if they are far away or you can't see them. It's almost OCD.
Teen: ::grumpily:: well, it IS polite.
I get that he has been taught it is polite. Perhaps you were taught that too. In my mind, this is a leftover superstition from medieval times when people believed in changelings and people used to pass their children through cheese rinds. When I realized this was purely based off of superstition, I quit using it. I was still a Christian then and I felt the Bible was fairly clear in concerns to Christians falling prey to superstitions. I see the irony in this now, but at the time it made sense that as someone who obeys God, one cannot hold on to ridiculous superstitions no matter how "polite" it is perceived in society. Nevermind, that the Bible is also clear as to who is blessed and why. Nowhere does it say, blessed are those who sneeze. Now, as an atheist, I see it not just as an archaic throwback, but a religious statement. Who I am asking them to be blessed by? Me? Of course not. The implication is still, God bless you. Even if you leave the word out, everyone knows what you mean. But I don't mean it. I don't see any evidence for a god, let alone one who spends his day blessing everyone who sneezes, which would be billions of people all day every day. In my mind, it would be disingenuous to use this phrase.
I know it is a small thing, but like I said, I live a very intentional life. I don't just do things because everyone does them. I want to think about and analyze those things in my life to be sure that if I am doing something, it is for the right reasons and morally upright. My kid does things because someone taught him to do it and he can't be bothered to learn about it or think about it beyond this-is-what-people-do. He does this for everything by the way and a common phrase I hear in my house is, "Have you ever considered....?" followed by that ghosts are real, that god exists, that heaven is real, that angels are real, etc. etc. etc. Yes, kid. I've thought a LOT about it. I've read books, watched movies & videos, gotten in debates, attended church for years, learned apologetics, took ethics and philosophy classes. Yes, I've considered all of that. The real question is, have you?
Another great article that really strikes home.
An interesting article concerning the story of Ezer and Elead and what this means for archaeology, Biblical narratives, and Biblical literalism.
Two weeks ago I had a liver biopsy to determine if I had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and what stage I was into the disease. Turns out I am in the very beginning stages and it is reversible so I just have to lose some weight (which I have already done. 14 pounds down! woohoo!) and keep eating healthy and I should be good. Sadly, my liver biopsy itself wasn't without complications. Apparently, the large-ish needle that they used punctured my liver in a way that created a subdural hematoma (a bruise) on my liver and some of the juices from my liver leaked out into the needle site. Now, neither of these things will kill you, but it will hurt like a motherfucker. I don't think I can fully describe the levels of pain I was in. It's like nothing I have ever experienced. Breathing hurt, walking hurt, standing hurt, sitting hurt. At one point, I attempted to lay/sit in bed and the pain was so bad that my body was jerking uncontrollably. My husband was on the phone with the doctor trying to get a pain medication prescribed while also trying to decide if we needed to call an ambulance. I was panting, sweat was dripping down my head because I was in so much pain.
The car ride home was torture. Walking up the stairs to our third floor apartment was an exercise in mind over matter. As I slowly walked up those stairs I kept moaning, "Oh god, oh god." Even in my mind-addled state it occurred to me that I was basically calling out to a god who didn't exist and couldn't help me. So I switched to my husband's name. In a way, this was more distressing for him because there wasn't much he could do either, but he could do far more than a non-existent being could. He fluffed the pillows, held my hand, called the doctor over and over until they prescribed me pain medicine, heated up the heating pad, got me water, mopped my brow. At one point, in the midst of the worst of it, I moaned, "Oh [husband]. Help me. Help me." His voice cracked with tears when he replied, "There's nothing I can do." Just hold me, I told him. Just hold me. And so he held me until the muscles in my side stopped contracting and I could breathe again.
It took three hours to get the pain medication. Three hours of the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. And I am proud of my choice to not call out to a being who, if it does exist, has little regard for the suffering of human beings. I am also proud of my husband who did everything in his power to make sure that I was okay, comfortable, and comforted.
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.