It didn't turn out that way. I recovered. "I don't believe in God anymore" anticipated that I would recover, but that wouldn't make the problem go away. Relapse was statistically probable. I might be in that darkest of places again. This chapter dealt with the problem of suffering. Oh, how tidily that phrase expresses the chaos of a believer's brain when looking into the abyss. But I wouldn't let the tidy answers stand, and I still won't. While I am not so bitter anymore about this remitting, recurring condition of mine, as far as God goes, well, I just don't know as much about God as I used to.
Here is a piece of that chapter:
Although my own soul is a dry desert, I have deep wells from which to draw. While I do not believe in God, so I cannot say the creed, I cannot set my heart on the One who has broken it, I still believe in the communion of saints. As a Christian, I have a big family, across space and time. For now, I ask the rest of my family to do my believing for me.
The lament psalms persist in worship, and worship is how I persist. I listen to Gospel music. I sing along with those whose music it is. I do not have their faith. But I cannot dispute their testimony, what God has done for them, and the power they find in God to get through. I believe in them. I believe in the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.
Those whose ancestors survived the Middle Passage, survived slavery, survived Jim Crow, survived the Klan, who still survive today, I don't know how they survive. But they assure me, and I listen to them tell me over and over:
Everything He said in His word,
He will do it for you.
Every prophecy he gave, every promise He made,
He will do it for you.
Eight years later, I am in remission, not depressed, not even a shadow for the last six months. An eternity! I have challenges. I manage my condition every single day. And my life is good. I work toward a publication date of September 2020. There will be something that comes out of that old hellhole, a book, a different book that offers help and hope to others who have been misdiagnosed and inappropriately treated as I was. And I am very proud of it, Prozac Monologues, the book.
I am not saying it was worth the price. I am not saying that my God issues have been resolved, that some promise was kept, and it's all okay because there was a happy ending. You can say that if you want. But it's a slippery slope, hanging your faith on the happy ending.
I went to church on Sunday with a CD by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. It reminded me of that chapter. And I thought it was time to say thanks. They carried me through.
photo of candle by anonymous, used under Creative Commons license