I’ve done possibly the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life: come out to my mother about not believing in God.
We were speeding down the highway northbound to the town where the bulk of my family lives. That morning, the preacher asked me to read a couple of bible scriptures, one from first Thessalonians, and another from first Peter. I agreed, stood up before the congregation, took a deep breath, read the scriptures, sat down, and continued with the service. After communion was over, we quietly dismissed ourselves.
I started off by testing the waters one last time by asking a few religious questions, such as if she would be attending the Church of Christ if she were raised in the Christian Church. She said she would have, but she didn’t agree with the CoC on everything. She went into great detail explaining how she had done a great deal of soul searching when she was my age and came to the conclusion that the Church of Christ was mostly right. I thought, perhaps, that would soften the blow. I was wrong.
When I told her, she didn’t say anything for a few minutes. Then, she came at me full force, venturing where she knew she shouldn’t go: into the most intimate, vulnerable, and troubled chapter of my history, which took place a little over a year and a half ago:
“You know what this is, right? You know why you’re saying that? What happened a year and a half ago? Tell me what happened. Don’t you remember? Annie*. Annie broke your heart. We both know that she took your little heart, and smashed it...”
Here’s the background story in short: When I was in eighth grade (2008) a new girl moved here, who I liked well enough to call a friend. That summer, I felt my first love for this girl. I foolishly let it steep for a full year before asking her out. We dated for two months, all the while I was an anxious wreck, counting the total days (72), remembering days (March 8, 11, & 25, April 23 & 30, May 19), etc. The state of my mind in those days was truly horrible, but it had nothing to do with my religion. I don't know if I was insane or not.
There are some problems with her hypotheses, not counting how morbid it was for her to bring this up:
She also stated that atheists are “mean,” citing a few atheists she knew. I explained that this was an ad hominem, but it made little difference. That also doesn’t explain why I’m so much friendlier now than when I was a Christian.
But it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
(*I've changed her real name to protect her from shame, mostly.)