The Chrysalis of Doubt

She was so eloquent and passionate, but I just absolutely, at my core, disagreed. She was almost there; she had part of the truth. She was talking about doubt and how the Shiny, Happy People at churches don’t want us to talk about it. No, not just talk. They don’t even want us to whisper about it.

She said it was dangerous to hide this topic within ourselves. Yes, I agree. Hiding is rarely the answer. Then, she said doubt was the enemy and I cringed. She said there was ]’a war being waged over our belief and that doubt was the enemy. I just couldn’t get  on board. I couldn’t be moved from my foundation. War waging is rarely the answer.

You see, I have doubts and it makes people really uncomfortable around me. I either become a pariah or a project. Pariahs are avoided, unfriended, unfollowed and forgotten. Projects are prayed about and worked on. Neither of those roles is a comfortable one for me, but I’ve decided something recently.

I’m willing to be around people who are uncomfortable with me. I scare people sometimes. I talk about suicide, depression, darkness, pain, fear, ugliness. There are very few boxes here and they are not wrapped in pretty bows and paper. They are tattered boxes, used and crinkly.

They are perfect for playing in, I’ve noticed.

Doubt is a Friend

One of my favorite people that I’ve never met says, “The opposite of faith is certainty.” I think the favorite person might be Brene Brown or it might be Anne Lamott – not really sure. Regardless, it is a fabulous point. If you are certain of something, then how are you having faith?

In the lifecycle of faith, doubt is the chrysalis. In the cocoon of doubt, we can be fully ourselves – angry, fearful, tearful, sad, frightened, confused and absolutely breathtaking. It is the cocoon that people watch with bated breath, wondering what will emerge.

I personally imagine that I emerge an ugly, hideous moth. Ha! I am okay with this now. Moths are infinitely more useful than butterflies. Moths are pollinators just like butterflies and actually account for more of the pollinating action than butterflies. Go figure!

The other thing I love about moths is that they are largely nocturnal. You see them and are annoyed at how they flock to the porch light, I am sure. Yet, I have learned to love darkness. It is my home. There is beauty in darkness, just as there is beauty in the light. There is the darkness that brings solace, that brings rest and dreams. The darkness of caressing couples too. It is not entirely bad, as one might think.

Yes, I am a moth. In my cocoon of doubt, I have stopped fighting. This is only part of the process – to wonder, to guess, to be intrigued. Perhaps it is even the best part. I don’t really know if I will settle on “God exists” or “God is a myth” or ”

God is not concerned with me”. I sort of like being here – in this possibility. I can be all things to all people and connected to all people too. I understand those who believe wholeheartedly, because I have been in that phase of the lifecycle. I understand those who don’t believe, because I have been there too. And I even understand those who believe He is unconcerned, because I am sort of there right now.

All I can say to myself and those who find doubt in themselves is “Good, you are growing, maturing.” If in this lifecycle, you choose to believe or not believe, just remember that cycles repeat and next time you might choose something else. Nothing is forever. Today, I doubt. Tomorrow I might believe. The weight of today and tomorrow is more profound, more enriching when we are honest.

Truth is an evolution. My favorite words.

Candidly,

Ash

 

You Can Do Anything…

…You put your mind to. Heard that phrase?

Me too.

My dad said it to me all the time when I was growing up. He was awesomely encouraging and loved hearing all of my thoughts. If I had an idea, then he’d extrapolate it with me and we’d devise ways to change the world.

{kindred spirits}

As a grown woman and mom, I don’t actually use that phrase, because I disagree wholeheartedly. I’ve learned that I can think of many things, anything and put my mind to them. But doing them? That is a whole different matter.

There are some things I can’t do. In fact, there are many things I can’t do – even if I put my mind to them.

Exhibit A. I cannot run a 3 minute mile. No matter how hard I try or how much I believe it, my short little stubby legs will not move that fast. I could train for weeks and months and years and even decades. Not. Going. To. Happen. I am descended from stout, bohemian women who were known for their kolaches and birthing hips – not their running.

Exhibit B. Three years ago, I was a music teacher, PTO president and school board secretary. I had a nervous breakdown. Full blown, mental hospital and 9 week therapy program. There are some things I just can’t do…

As a mom, I never want to give my kids the impression that they are capable of anything or everything or all things. I want them to know that they should chose things and do things they believe in, whether they achieve them or not. I want them to know that they have limitations.

Limitations ARE OKAY! There IS such a thing as “I can’t” and “I won’t”. I want their “no” to be as powerful as their yes. I want them to have well-formed boundaries.

With all of that being said, I still want them to be risk-takers, to challenge themselves. I want them to be proud when they try, gracious when the succeed and curious when they fail. I want them to know that failure is a compass to true north. All great destinations have bumpy roads.

When they ask me if they can do it, if they can make it or if they will succeed…I will simply ask, “Do you think you can?” And we’ll go from there, because ultimately, it doesn’t matter what I believe about them. It only matters what they believe about themselves.