One time I sat on a friend’s couch and talked about drugs and alcohol and lying and death and Jesus. Partly stemming from frustration, partly from a desire for empathy or platform of understanding, I asked what the motivation was to put your body through something it wasn’t meant for; something that could kill it. My friend explained that if a mere 70 or 80 years on Earth is all we get, it would be ridiculous to waste it with religion or accountability to something we can’t even prove. If there was nothing before our lives, and there is nothing after, why would we not try to experience the greatest physical feelings that we can? For some people that’s staying neutral and happily allowing everyone to believe whatever makes them happy, for others its friends, others its drugs that dance around with your already ridiculously imaginative mind, others its sex, others its perfecting athletic talent, whatever.
I had never really thought about it like that, and I found it was easy to understand. I couldn’t believe it, but I could wrap my mind around it.
If I didn’t have a God that endlessly chased after me – like REALLY pursued my heart despite my efforts – I would be convinced of this in a second. I don’t think I would be someone that felt like I “understand why people have faith, but it’s just not for me.” I would genuinely think they were idiots. And I would indulge in a lot of selfish things that make me feel good because feeling good would be the point. I’m not calling my friends selfish; I’m just talking about how I would be. But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to truly be convinced of this theory that the best physical experiences are worth trying, and this life is really all we have. Like this is seriously the best I can get. And it’s not because I’m too strong or grounded or smarter than anyone else, it’s just that Jesus won’t let me. I even tried to believe it once, but it just didn’t work. I understand it too much, and it bores me. I can wrap my tiny mind around this theory, and I think that’s a huge part of the problem. It’s really uninspiring to fully understand something you believe in, because there’s nowhere else to go.
One night when I was finally beginning to come to, I stood almost completely still in the pouring rain amongst a crowd of literally thousands of souls jumping around me to the beats of deadmau5, and I almost started to cry. I knew this wasn’t the normal reaction to my situation. I left early, walked out onto Michigan Avenue, and went to buy a new t-shirt at Walgreens because my clothes were so soaked and ruined. I sat down on the crammed L and some man in a wolf shirt told me I looked like Taylor Swift. That’s a lie, I thought, until I caught my reflection in the window and noticed how the rain had warped my blonde hair into the same ringlets that help characterize T-Swift. He had half a point, so I gave him half a smile. This isn’t particularly important to anything, I just remember everything about this night. I don’t think I said more than ten words on the hour-long ride back to where I was staying for the night. Probably mistaken for exhaustion or boredom by those around me, I was actually just freaking overwhelmed. Trying to figure out why I wasn’t happy and why this experience wasn’t any fun anymore. I shouldn’t have been anywhere near tears. It took me months and months beyond this moment to further figure out that this was an example of my soul begging for some mystery. There is an importance to the unknowns of faith and Christ. Over the last few years, I’ve watched drugs and alcohol and sex and lies destroy way too many things to legitimately believe that the greatest joy could actually be found here and that this life is the end for me. I can do a whole lot better than this. I’ve had a lot of people tell me how much it would suck to believe in God, and that’s fine because they’re just being honest. But I disagree. I’m learning and feeling my spirit literally shift and grow in truth and peace. Now there are a whole lot of people more intelligent than myself who can prove a lot and answer a lot of questions about Jesus and His existence, and I’m thankful for those people. But there will always be things no one can prove or make total sense from. And that may seem like cause to disbelieve, but it’s turned out to be the very reason I will pursue it further. For the rest of my life and then some more.