present in the stories.

If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling. -Frederick Buechner

Atticus at One

The problem with this new life of mine is that it is wearing me out. I don’t sleep through the night even when I can because I am so used to being woken up. We were lucky in the fall, but Atticus has been sick constantly in January and February. He cries every morning when I drop him off, and while I know he’s okay, it’s kind of a downer. He’s fussy at night when we bring him home because he doesn’t feel well. Little by little, these things have chipped away at my remaining reserves.

I used to be conversant in the evangelical vocabulary of faith: blessings and prayer requests and identity in Christ and abundant life. There was a part of me that felt like a phony–at times I felt tenuously connected to those words, but I often felt as if I was on the outside looking in, not quite able to understand what everyone else was saying. They seemed to feel some connection to that language that I could imitate but never owned in my heart.

Over the past year, what little grasp I had on that vocabulary drifted away, and I recently realized that it’s become as impenetrable as a foreign language to me. This is part of a larger reimagining of my faith that is taking place, because the God I have believed in as an idea is not showing up. I think he is there, but not necessarily in the ways that I have always believed. I am in the beginnings of letting go of the old bad things with the hope that something new and healthy will grow in their place.

It is easier to hold on to those bad things, even though I know they aren’t working for me. Because I am afraid that if I let go of them, I will not have anything at all to hold on to. But I am tired, so tired. The thing about this new life is that I feel like I am creating it on my own. And that’s a feeling I am ready to let go of. I want to be living a story that is more worth talking about than the one that I am in the middle of right now.

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