I turned around and looked into her face. It was vaguely familar at first, but suddenly the realization of who this was came rushing back.
“Oh my gawwww!” I held myself back from completing the word. She might find my use of “god” offensive.
“Wow, how are you?”
Quickly I came to learn that this girl who was once the object of my desire was still very much on the Christian path, having found ‘old-time religion’ in a traditional church that kept its roots firmly in the ways of the revivalists. Ah, how I once loved that world! I remember chatting with her in the past about reading a biographical book on four revivalists who shook their world with riveting conviction of faith in God through Jesus. Little did I know that one day I would radically shift from my devotion. I knew as I shared that I had not been to church at all for some time that we would need a long time to chat, so I suggested we sit down.
One thing that struck me as I spoke with her was the intense radiance that eminated from her being. It was ultimately the thing that attracted me to her in the first place, beyond her physical beauty. It was easy talking with her, even while we differed significantly in our convictions.
“Let me ask you, do you believe in God? Do you believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God? What about Jesus, liar, lunatic or lord?”
I said that I do not believe the Bible to be inerrant, and that I would disagree with C.S. Lewis’ formulation. It was difficult for her to continue the ‘gospel spiel’ without these fundamentals. Most of the rest of our conversation revolved around our stories – my deconversion experience as has already been explained in this blog, and her journey to finding her current church and relationship with God. I explained that postmodern theory had a lot to do with my new position, and she understood given her own exposure in the past. However, her convictions were deep and very true to her experience, and she had moved from a dark place of doubt to a place of trust and assurance.
It was amazing to be able to share my journey at such depth with someone who was there with me in my old perspective. I could totally appreciate her own position, and even affirmed it as a real and vibrant experience, while explaining that my own position has been liberating, albeit confusing. No longer a slave to the ‘true’, while still affirming that there are spiritual depths true to all beings.
After hours had passed, I walked away from her not with the feelings of attraction that I once held, but wonder in how we met yet again after all this time, and how present I was able to be with her in sharing our stories. Very rarely have I met such a beautiful soul, one who has the ability to inspire you with their presence. Thank God for this opportunity.