About six years ago, I attended the church I grew up in for the last time. I hadn't been there in several weeks, and questions were asked about where I had been and what I was up to. Mostly it was the pastor's wife, who had been a mentor to me, asking about what I had been doing. The tone she used made me think she knew I was in a "faith crisis" or whatever you want to call it. I made up a lie about attending another church closer to home and left it at that. I walked out the doors and never went back.
I've always felt sort of bad about just leaving like that, with no explanation. I grew up in that congregation. Most of the people had known me since I was six years old and doing ballerina twirls in the parking lot. There was always a little twinge of something, I don't think I'd call it guilt, but something that made me feel like I should close that door once and for all.
I think the biggest reason that I didn't tell anyone why I left was that I was just afraid of the reaction. Like I said, I was raised in that church from a young age. It was a small congregation and felt like extended family. It was scary enough to admit to myself that I'd lost my faith, never mind my own family. I was afraid of the questions that might be asked of me, or of feeling like I'd somehow let them down.
I'm finally trying to resolve this need for closure. I wrote a letter to the pastor of the church asking to formally withdraw my membership from the church (likely an unnecessary step, but it makes me feel better). I included a few statements about what I do and do not believe anymore, to make it plain that I am no longer a Christian. I plan to put the letter in the mail tomorrow and I hope that will be the end of it.
This probably doesn't seem important to others, but I really think this is the right move for me. My hope is that by doing this, I'll be able to get rid of that "loose-ended" feeling and end that chapter of my life. It's been a long and turbulent ride to this point.