About three years ago, I was a Jehovah's Witness teetering on the edge of phenomenal change. I just didn't know it yet. My also-jw friend J (who went on to become my boyfriend and then went on to become who I affectionately now term "the ex") took me out for a drive one night. Both of our lives were in complete flux at the time, but I could never anticipate the flux that this conversation would usher into my life.
It was late. He stopped the car and parked it on a side road outside the busy city. It was dark. It was quiet. For some reason I remember staring at the telephone poles that lined the road and kept visually scanning the phone lines streaming over the car.
I don't remember the rest of the conversation, what came before or after the question. I only remember the question. A question I will never forget.
"Is there anything that you could learn that would make you think that what you have is not The Truth?" (By the way, Jehovah's Witnesses term their belief system "The Truth." Says a lot doesn't it?)
The question stung. It sent me reeling. It wasn't a statement that my beliefs were wrong. It was an inquiry into what made my beliefs right. It was the invitation to search my soul for the possibility that what I believed to be true, wasn't. And it changed my life. Forever.
Within minutes, I realized that there were things I could find out about my beloved religion that would make me question its validity. I wasn't even sure what those details would be, but the question forced me into a state of doubt that I still haven't recovered from.
That was the beginning of the end for me. Once I entertained the possibility that my religious beliefs were false, every other belief about myself, the universe and my place in it, came up for question. When it comes down to it, the only question there is and possibly ever was is: Who are we really?
In the past three years, my soul has found no resting place. I cannot hang my hat on anything my mind can conjure and say definitively that this is true. It's why I find debate so futile. Why argue something that you could find to be complete shite a year from now?
I wake some nights with a complete sense of dread in my gut. The dread of not knowing who I am, why I'm here, where I'm going, what the point is. I don't know how people function each day with these questions swirling around. It's why I sometimes have those Cypher Days where I long for the neat little bubble that gave my life concrete meaning, concrete answers, concrete illusion.
Life in the real is daunting. And I still feel like I don't know what the hell I'm doing. Does anyone really?