So...time for some honesty. Me and God? We have not been on the best terms these past six months. Well, past two years, really.
This may not be a surprise to some. My relationship with God has been a tumultuous whirlwind. Picture in your head a screaming toddler who only calms down when the parent gives her a cookie. Something like that.
But for these long six months, it's been the worst it's ever been. I rarely spoke to God, except to occasionally pepper Him with demands I felt I needed. I call this, 'grocery listing.' I stopped calling myself a Christian and even (I'm ashamed to say so) allowed a horrible feeling of condescension and superiority fester inside me. I mocked what I once believed with my whole heart.
It should also not surprise many that these past six months have been the worst in my life. There were times where I could not even manage to get out of bed, I felt so horrible about life. I was miserable. I think some might diagnose it as depression, but all I could see it as were periods of the utmost darkness. I couldn't even see past my own emotion. There didn't seem to be a point in going on anymore.
I was lucky though. Well, I suppose luck had nothing to do with it. I had wonderful friends who loved me, who wouldn't let me succumb to the darkness. There were certain days where my only reason to get out of bed was to go out to lunch with one of them. And then, my trip to England suddenly became a reality, so I had something to look forward to. How could I think life wasn't worth living when I was so close to seeing a place I'd dreamed about? Seeing the homes of C.S Lewis, the cities of Jane Austen, the birthplace of Shakespeare?
So you can understand, maybe a little more precisely why Oxford was so meaningful to me.
After C.S Lewis' grave, I decided I would get dinner at a pizza restaurant that had caught my eye and finish my night off with a drink at the Eagle and the Child. I took the bus from Headington back to Oxford and walked to Fire & Stone, where I enjoyed a delicious dinner. As I left the pizza restaurant, it began to rain.
Once I arrived at the pub, I ordered a beer and sat down. I began to read "The Great Divorce" while enjoying my drink. This was probably not the best idea. After all the emotion that had consumed me after seeing my favorite writer's grave, reading one of his best novels while at one of his favorite places was sure to open the floodgates. And sure enough, it did. I had to set my book down while tears misted my eyes. I believe I worried several of the patrons.
But at that moment, the queerest feeling came over me. It felt almost as though I was having a beer WITH him, with my favorite writer. C.S Lewis himself. As if he was sitting across from me, probably sneering at my light beer and asking me questions I didn't want to answer. And then, it felt as though I was having a real conversation with him.
Immediately, I grabbed my computer and typed out all I heard. As soon as I finished, the floodgates were open, and I was legitimately crying. I wasn't even sure what I was crying for. I downed the rest of my drink, shut my computer down, and hurried out the door.
It was twilight. I opened up my umbrella and the rain kept pouring down on the cobblestone streets. I walked aimlessly, with the vague notion of heading towards my hostel but if you'd asked me then where I was going, I would probably have only stared at you blankly. I could feel it. I could feel God trying to niggle His way back into my life and I was both desirous and petrified. Could I really do this? Could I really put my trust back into something I had scorned and ridiculed for the past year?
I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. I was still crying. I didn't say anything nor did I really have coherent thoughts at this point, but all I can say is that I apologized to God for being such a rotten person and asked quietly for Him to forgive me. I told Him (without saying or thinking, it was a strange sensation, I can't really explain it adequately) that I wanted to come back but I needed His help--I certainly couldn't do it on my own.
And then I felt peaceful.
So there you have it. I'm now a Christian. I hate to call this a conversion story since in all honestly, I've been bouncing back and forth from Christianity to skepticism to agnosticism over and over again for the pat three years. But I can say that has stopped. The time for pretending is over. I know that it's not always going to be all sunshine and roses and I know that it's going to get harder as I go on. But all I can say, is I'm here. And I'm staying.
Oh, if you're wondering about the 'conversation in my head with C.S Lewis' that I wrote down, I'm not really sure where to put that. Another blog post? Let me know if you want to see it. Or let me know if you're sick of this nauseating sentimentality and want to get back to the pretty pictures and hilarity.
Love to all!