Shortly after Angel’s first suicide attempt, I remember thinking to myself that all of my children were growing up without me ~ because I was much too worn down physically ~ plus what little energy I did have was all being zapped from me daily as I tried to make life with their overbearing, micro-managing, hyper-critical, narcissistic father as painless as possible for the children. Despite my efforts, they were all obviously beaten-down and discouraged to the point that we had become of family of zombies ~ excepting, of course, for Warren ~ who rather than feeling half-dead like the rest of us, seemed to have all the energy in the world ~ in fact, I believe he thrived on the energy and life-force which he painstakingly extracted from each of us day in and day out.
One day, as I was reading my bible ~ seeking the Lord and His wisdom ~ I came across a little nugget in Ecclesiastes 5:20: Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.
This verse set me to thinking ~ I’d been laboring (literally) for years ~ and due to my QF convictions, there was no end in sight ~ I had been blessed with the riches of many children alright ~ but I was rarely able to partake in the fruits of my labor. What the heck? According to “the preacher,” the promise to bless His faithful followers also includes the gift of being able to actually enjoy and rejoice in the rewards of our labor.
I wanted to enjoy my children ~ and I forced myself to get up (my energy level was so low that I just felt like sleeping all the time) ~ I took them camping, put them in 4-H, etc. But the more time that I spent with them, the more obvious it was to me that my kids were suffering from the abuse and neglect.Lo, children are a blessing … but I was too wiped out and overwhelmed to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
It was shortly after this revelation that I made the decision to take the necessary action to regain my health and to ensure that my children and I would truly be “blessed” ~ blessed, that is, with peace, happiness and the ability to reap the rewards of all our hard work and diligence.
That determination eventually led me to leave the security of being “in Christ.”
Losing my deeply loved “blessed assurance” was scary, yes ~ I’d heard all the stories of atheist philosophers who pondered such deep and complex thoughts without ever reaching any solid, satisfying conclusions ~ I really didn’t want that to be me.
But oh the freedom to think outside the contraints of Christian fundamentalism, to explore new ways of understanding and interpreting the world! I had embarked on a new and thrilling adventure.
One evening, as I was relaxing with the kids ~ enjoying Star Trek reruns ~ I caught the following dialogue between Capt. Kirk and “Bones” which really captures my new, almost fearless, attitude with regard to the uncertainty of unbelief:
Bones: Where are we going?
Kirk: Where they went.
Bones: Suppose they went nowhere?
Kirk: Then this will be your big chance to get away from it all.
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