You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone December 3, 2022

Photo by Ron Lach‏

I live in a county that is 75% Republican. There are various, small Protestant churches and no Catholic or Episcopal churches in the area. The main line denominations are represented, but woke theology and progressivism is limited.

The sheriff’s vehicles have “In God We Trust” imprinted on them. So even though 60 to 80% of the population do not go to church regularly, it would be terribly unpopular to criticize organized religion publicly here.

Because religious organizations need new members, they tend to be very welcoming when new people cross their threshold, but they often shame and/or simply ignore those that leave.

So, when someone starts to question their faith, many of these factors combine to cause the person to feel like they are the only person in their zip code that feels the way they do. And sometimes, church members help them with this feeling by gaslighting them about their assumptions.

There is something deep inside that’s driving them to question and search for better answers, but everything around them tells them it’s dangerous and lonely. The PTSD they feel is real and the questions before them are monumental.

– Who am I ?
– What do I believe?
– What do I like to do?
– What do I do with my time?
– Is this okay?

It is easy to assume that no one else thinks like we do and often people dive back into different closed systems of Christianity that provide some temporary acceptance, but not necessarily the eternal answers they were looking for.

So what do we do about loneliness while we are still on the journey?

1. Be Patient

It took time to develop all of the beliefs and practices we have now, and it will take some time to deconstruct everything and to begin to evolve. Organic processes take time–they need time to germinate and grow into what they were supposed to be.

2. Get comfortable with solitude

During my Deconstruction, I met a pastor that couldn’t be still for 5 minutes. We later went to a quietness retreat, where we were encouraged to be still for 20 minutes at a time. It was so valuable to learn mindfulness and things like centering prayer that helped me be still and listen.

3. Get comfortable with uncertainty

In our former religions, certainty was valued and when we found it, we felt secure and safe. But creeds and belief systems that made us feel secure also imprisoned us. Once we solidified our beliefs, we stopped learning and growing.

Proceeding with uncertainty takes courage, but it is really the only way to move forward.

4. Join some conversations

Start a podcast. Join a group. You will quickly find safe places and people that share your interests. Learn to choose who deserves to hear your story, but be brave and find your people.

5. Become conscious of the universe

Once you begin to discover some things about nature and the collective unconscious, you will realize that it’s impossible to be alone. But it takes time to be aware of this reality. Once you feel it, you will never return to a cheap excuse for community again.

6. Being

We always say “Be where you are” (presence) and “Be who you are” (authenticity) as a way of describing being and becoming. It is also the path to peace that allows us to find bliss (anada) no matter the situation.

We were taught by organized religion to bypass and look for miraculous solutions when we felt things like loneliness or fear. But as we matured, we discovered that numbing or bypassing our fear never really solved the problem. The only way to progress through our fear is to lean into it.

This takes vulnerability and courage, but it is most definitely worth it. You will make it and you are not alone in this journey!

Be where you are,
Be who you are,

Karl Forehand


Photo by Ron Lach‍ :

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