Some of the greatest sources of mental pain and anguish is the cognitive dissonance of trying to ‘make the church work’. When the truths you have been taught clash with the truths you feel inside your own heart and mind, it can shatter your entire life and leave you feeling profoundly broken. The question to ask is why must we default to being the broken ones? If two ‘truths’ are in conflict – one of them must not be true. In our lives, recognizing that it might actually be those taught truths that are in error had one of the most thrilling, terrifying but ultimately empowering effects we’ve ever known. The moment you can actually speak the words, or even allow the thought that ‘the church might not be true’ is the first step toward a healing more profound than any offered in a sacrament tray or from the pulpit. Because if the church absolutely undeniably is true, then you are correct to feel damaged – any dissonance must be by default (and at best) a malfunction. But if it is NOT absolutely true – and the courage to actually examine that question as if it were the most important question of your life is required here – then what you thought was an illness is actually a beautiful mutation – a moment of personal evolution that, although painful, will become a source of great strength.
Remember – one of the greatest virtues espoused by the Church is that of agency. You really, truly have a choice to find your own moral center, your own interpretation of the fact. And based on your heart, based on your own experiences, based on what you REALLY know is true, not what you have been told to know is true, you can decide that you’re not the one that is defective.
You might actually be right. And if you are looking for that permission to follow your heart, or if you have come to the realization that the Church is not a healthy or safe space for you or your family, remember this:
It’s ok. You are loved. You can go.