Christian Wiman is a poet whose prose has grabbed my attention. Having grown up in west Texas, where he never knew a non-Christian until he went to college, Wiman, walked away from his Christian faith, from any faith, until recently. In his most recent book, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer, Wiman writes raw and articulately about faith. He's not a conventional Christian. He struggles to believe. He bangs against orthodoxy. But he can't shake that "insistent, persistent ghost". Here's a passage that names what many today feel, those who find it hard to believe in God, yet struggle more to not believe:
". . . nights all adagios and alcohol as my mind tore luxuriously into itself. I can see now how deeply God's absence affected my unconscious life, how under me always there was this long fall that pride and fear and self-love at once protected me from and subject me to. Was the fall into belief or into unbelief? Both. For if grace woke me to God's presence in the world and in my heart, it also woke me to his absence. I never truly felt the pain of unbelief until I began to believe."
Does belief pain you? Do doubts persist? Questions nag?
If so, you're not alone. Authentic faith has room for such a struggle. It needs room for that struggle if faith is to be real in times as troubles as these.
Intention: Today, I'll mindfully hold two things within my heart--my belief in God and my struggle to believe. That honest tension creates the inner space of true prayer.