Where’s the switch?

Off Switch
September 5th, 2012

I’ve been somber for two days in a row, which isn’t very common in me anymore. It feels as if someone turned off the light. I suspect that in the chemicals of my brain, this is not too far from the truth. Lately I haven’t had to make an effort to feel well. I could just use a meditation technique, relax, and everything would be fine. Stressful things and hard work wouldn’t affect me very much.

Externally, I have reasons to be excited, not sad. My master’s degree graduation is tomorrow. I just moved into a beautiful new apartment, and I have several ideas of how to decorate it best.

But my graduation is part of the reason I’m sad: I enjoyed classes very much. And even though my classmates aren’t my closest friends, I enjoy their company, and will miss them. I’ll also miss learning new things and meeting new people.

Another reason for my mood could be a type of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s the end of summer, my least favorite part of the year in Monterrey. Because of where the city is located and daylight savings time, the sun rises between 7:30 and 8:00 am. I HATE DST. I am a night person and very sensitive to the sun. I do my best work in the two time slots between 9am-1pm and 9pm-1am.

I hate going to bed early! Having DST “steal” one of my precious hours of darkness and place it at the most annoying time possible (early morning), makes me crabby at the start of the day.

I miss sunrise in Honduras. In La Ceiba the sun rose at 5:35am today; that’s the one thing I miss the most about my home country. All year round, the sun would creep in my window by 6, making it almost impossible to oversleep.

I suspect the greatest reason for my sadness today is the loss of one of my newer friendships this week. I can’t really say much on the blog except that because of a mistake I made, my friend thinks I was being friendly with him only for selfish reasons. No words of mine can change his mind about that, sadly. Almost all friendships are for mutual benefit, but my friends know I find more satisfaction in giving than receiving.

I’ve lost a friend, and here’s the clincher: one of the few places I’ve found people trustworthy enough for friendship is the church, and I am no longer Christian. This makes me very angry. Where can I find real friendship? I need it!

This weekend I helped a friend at church film a play they put on. Of course, my former brothers and sisters pressured me strongly to return. I know some of the people I met there love me, and seeing them was a pleasure. Others though seemed to think it their “duty” to love me and bring me back to the fold. Their startling mix of sincerity and hypocrisy was hard to bear, and it left a bitter taste. I wanted to run and never look back.

I need what my church gave me: friendship, a mission, a feeling of belonging. But I can’t overlook the holes in the Bible (and the other holy books). To me they’re just, reusing Jesus’s words: the teachings of men. It angers me that people expect me to be religious! I think it may be less about faith, and more about being in a social group.

The reason for my anger may be deeper: fear of being alone. But I am consciously pushing away all the religious people in my life, which include many of my former friends, my own parents and all my extended family. I have no one worthy of taking their place. Where is my mistake?

Can’t there be friends without religion getting in the way? Outside the church I’ve met hedonists, superstitious and superficial people mostly. I can tolerate their company for a while, but I long for something better. For now, I’ve selected a few of my old religious friends to remain close to, but not worship with them.

Is there a “church” for people who care about truth and wisdom, but not religion?

Image by Marc Soller, used with a CC license

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