(Save it, Andy; I already know what you're going to say :) )
I am an atheist. There, I said it. I don't say it a lot. It's not that I am ashamed of it, and it certainly isn't that I don't have the knowledge behind me to argue my case. If you and I were out for drinks, this wouldn't even be an issue, the whole you-knowing thing. I'd probably bring it up at some point, because, well, I like the discussion. I just, in the world of moms who blog, find it difficult to discuss this. There are few of us in comparison to the teaming masses of moms with I love Jesus blinkies. When I find blogs written by overtly Christian parents, I tend to pass over them. I don't do that because I don't like reading about it; in fact, I DO like reading some of those blogs. It's just that I know that with a click here and a sitemeter there, that parent can find their way back here and then it's with the disapproval and the grumpies. I don't like disapproval.
So, my atheism is a semi-secret. The thing is, though, that when I was a Christian, I shouted it from the rafters. It was everything to me. This Atheism? Yeah, I don't really care. It does not, on any level, define who I am, and I couldn't care less if you never knew that about me. There-in lies the difference.
I could leave it at that; that being 'I don't want to rock anyone's boat', but it's more than that. It's something deep at the core of who I am, and it's fighting this thing. See, when I was little, and life wasn't always so grand*, I always leaned on God. Yes, I was a Christian. Sorta. I was more religious than you, I promise. I ate, slept, breathed God and Jesus and the Christian way. I took every scripture at face value (there is no way I could ever count the amount of times I have read the bible cover to cover. It's at least 16, quite possibly double or triple that) and lived it to the utmost. So, when things got tough, I put my faith in the lord almighty and the fact that he would never give me more than I could bear. I believed that and it brought me a tremendous amount of comfort.
The lord watches over you, the lord is your shade at your rightI remember sitting in my bedroom, looking out my window, and talking to god. I remember telling him that I must be the strongest child in the world, because sheesh he sure sending a whole bunch of tests my way. I remembered Job. I remembered Lot. I remembered all the people in the bible who showed such tremendous strength during adversity and I tried to be like them. But I knew I could do it because god wouldn't let it happen if I couldn't, and there must be a bigger plan for me and a reason I was where I was.
hand; The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The lord will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your
life; the lord will watch over your coming and going both now and
And then one day I woke up. I realized that yes, perhaps I was the strongest child the world had ever known, but that this wasn't something happening because god let it happen. This was happening because of a chemical imbalance in my mothers' brain brought on by systemic childhood abuse, bad genes, mosquito trucks in the 1950's and my grandfather's super great idea to shut up his kids by cracking open thermometers and letting them play with the mercury. I realized this all a bit after I had hit the more-than-I-could-bear point, and I had a complete, total breakdown, right then and there. I had a crisis of faith. I topped that with an honest realization of the absolute horrors my brother and I endured. The cherry on the top was, of course, the complete abandonment by the very church I had been raised in, the admission by its leaders that, "Yeah, we knew what was going on, but who were we to stop it?"
Um, you were adults. In a position of authority. Over me and my mother. And you were all I had.
At least I wasn't an alter boy.
Anyway, that faith in the support of god, the assurance that I could handle anything thrown my way, that was the first thing to go. The rest followed shortly thereafter. I am not bitter about it, the way some atheists can be; in fact, my sons both have a strong faith in them that has evolved all on its own and is backed with an expansive knowledge of various religions (mom dabbles in theology, when she's not busy blogging), and I encourage and promote that. They know dad and I don't share their beliefs, and they couldn't care less. And I applaud that even more.
But as an adult, and an adult who has chosen the path less traveled in her life, I hit a lot of bumps along the way. Sometimes, these bumps are big. Sometimes they make me grind my teeth all the way down and cry more than I'd like to admit. And I find, in these times of hardship, that I miss that feeling that somehow, it's all going to be ok. I miss the comfort of that, because I know that sometimes it just doesn't all work out ok and sometimes really shitty things happen and really, super hard choices have to be made. And though I am luckier than many people in the world, with a great support structure and not a terrible head on my shoulders, none of us are omnipotent, are we? None of us can snap our fingers and make it all stop. I guess I'm really just afraid of admitting that I let the hope of that go.
*Yes, that would be a gross understatement.