I am a sinner. I’ve done my share of stupid things. I’ve been self centered, hateful, angry, human. With all that said, I’ve had the opportunity to rest in my sin and let that define my character but I’ve tried to be the opposite. We are all wired that way aren’t we? We have these soul defining moments where we learn we’ve screwed up and we can either give into nature or be better.
With all that said, I’m not a fan of Christianity. I read scripture and study its context and see consistency. I read a book of stupid people who make decisions based on their nature and God doing His darndest to get them to be better.
This past year, I’ve fallen into a group who has a rosy vision of God. They expect Him to bend to their will, demanding healing, prosperity, and an all too unrealistic expectation of God. I’ve watched these “Christians” who have the potential to do great things in impacting other people’s lives but disregard their calling to be better than human so as to manipulate God. Instead of changing their nature, they try to bend Him to their will. They’ve justified it. They’ve combated their humanness by beating a religion into submission.
On the flip side, I (off and on) immersed myself in The Salvation Army. I watched people who rested in reality and did their very best to show others a redeemed personhood. I’ve watched these brilliant selfless lights die, literally. There was no healing, no deliverance, and they left behind broken people who needed their light.
I’m not going to lie, this past year has been dark for me. I’ve been burned by the people who try to bend God to their will. I’ve reached out in my darkest moments, looking for a friend in the church and got the reply, “I don’t need you in my life.” I could have run towards the people who were real, who were a city on the hill, but I hated myself so much that I too wanted to manipulate God to my nature instead of His. I failed.
My grandfather was one of these “Christians”. Don’t get me wrong, he was a great man and earnestly loved people. However, he hated himself and tried to use God to change who he was but the brokenness was what made him one of the most loving and charming people in my life. God refused to change that pain, loss, and humanness because my grandfather was a beacon. He died in pain, hoping that God would fix everything he hated about himself; the anger, resentment, trauma.
I wrote The Husband honestly. I showed that God isn’t there to make everything rainbows and unicorns. He’s there to reveal ourselves for who we really are, self-centered with a pension for evil. The ending isn’t hopeful, it isn’t happy. Arguably it’s an incredibly depressing book but it is real life. It’s a train wreck we as readers have to keep reading. In this reality, I believe, there is hope for all of us.
I’m not going to stop hating myself. There won’t be this hopeful anticipation that God is going to make everything right as rain. Quite the opposite. I’ve been broken a long time. My mental illness along with a thyroid issue exasperated my proclivity to be human. I relive every trauma like it’s the first time. The wounds of the events in the Husband are far worse today than they were. They get bigger, bloodier, and rancid. Everything objectionable about myself can either motive me to be human or be a selfish jerk. I’ve been both.
Throughout my marriage, I lived in regret. By the time the wedding came around, I had the option to believe in who The Wife could be and not who she was. She could be empathetic, a force of good, one of those cities. She also could be evil, a perfectionist, and to this day, one of the most narcissistic people I will ever know. I knew the good, the bad, and the ugly of her. I knew her parents were evil and hateful people who bended God to their will. I longed to be seen for my potential and I chose, at the time, to see the potential in her. She disappointed me.
Don’t misunderstand me. I didn’t do my diligence to nurture and the awesomeness I saw in her. I tried but other times, our sickness fed off each other. I was honestly too weak to do any good.
Regret has been my defining emotion for a lot of the divorce and the aftershock. It started with dismay that I gave her a chance, that I let myself get so close, that she could absolutely destroy me. However, truthfully, I loved her even in her weaknesses. I loved everything about her. That is why I was destroyed.
We had awesome times, some of the best in my life. However, we got caught up in everyone else’s definitions that we stopped seeing each other for everything good and we narrowed in on just the bad. Maybe it was justification for the way we felt. It was altogether human.
For the first time in awhile, I’ve been able to admit to myself, I don’t regret the marriage. I regret not getting physical and emotional help sooner. I regret that there was this undefined score of mistakes that would be enough to lose the one I love. I regret making her feel like that as well. Hindsight is always 20/20 and mine has taken me a long time to get to where it needed to be. Could we have been awesome together? Yeah, totally. However, I rested in my fear and she rested in her narcissism.
I’m not going to pretend that I know who will be in heaven or not. I do believe that heaven isn’t shut off just because we sin. It’s deeper and scarier than that. Heaven is shut off to people who, when given the reality of their nature, they chose being human over the potential God calls us to be. It’s for the people who understand their mistakes and do their best to do right by their covenants, their relationships. It’s not for the people who are human after-all but people who aspire to be better than their wiring.