It’s Not Me, It’s You

familySince my last post, I’ve thought a lot about how atheists are spoken of, how we are treated, how demonized we all are. I don’t have a persecution complex or anything like that. As much as I would like to say it’s not all that bad, I know that it is. The reality is, we are so maligned that even the people closest to us can rationalize turning their backs on us. I believe they feel righteous in some way.

Today I’m going to share a letter my sister wrote to me soon after I had started doubting my belief in god and while I was going through one of the most difficult times in my life.I do this because I want others, who have had their families turn their backs on them, to know it’s not them and they are not alone.

I’ll spare you the background for now, except to say that our relationship had been extremely close up until I shared my doubts about god. I think the letter speaks for itself. Here it is:

I don’t want to hurt you with my words, but I have to speak the truth. I’m tired. You’ve never made it easy to talk with you about my feelings regarding our relationship. I send you these words from my heart. I can no longer hide from the truth of my feelings and I want to be up front and honest with you from now on. I’m tired of being ‘fake’ due to fear and I certainly no longer want to patronize you. That isn’t fair to you.

I love you very much because you are my sister. I forgive you. I have no ill will towards you, just deep sadness for many reasons, most of which we’ve discussed already. I am deeply sad because I have developed a wall between you and I that I cannot seem to break down. I have trust issues with you that hopefully will one day go away. That in no way means that I don’t love you deeply and cherish you as my sister. That will never change. Also, I love you with a deep love that can only come from Christ.   My heart breaks over hearing what you have to say about our Savior, but that is not why I am choosing to distance my self from you. Hopefully you will search your heart and discover what you need to do to repair our relationship.

Just so you know, the reason why I have never questioned your beliefs, and this may sound harsh, but over one year ago I was advised by several trusted people who know me and are familiar with our relationship, not to speak with you about why you have hardened your heart towards God because you’ve had such a strong influence on me over the years and it is dangerous to speak with you about the ‘earthly wisdom’ that you claim that you’ve been enlightened by. I can’t put it any other way. I have to be open and honest with you.

I will continue to pray that you find Jesus Christ in the midst of your pain.

As a follower of Christ I would be doing you an injustice if I did not give you this verse: John 15:5 – ‘I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.’ I have attached John 15 that I am praying you will read.

All my love, Brenda”

So there it is. Retyping it is like reading it for the first time–painful. When people you love reject you for being an atheist, it’s the most helpless feeling in the world, but like they say on The Sopranos, “Whad’ya gonna do?” Nothing, but know it’s not you; it’s them. The truth is, although I miss my sister, I would not give up the freedom I have in the hopes that one day, she will consider me once again worthy of her love. I tried that a for so long and all it did was leave me broken.

My advice, move on. Stop trying to get loved ones to stop rejecting you.  If they truly love you, they will find you.  Instead surround yourself with people who love you for who you are, and you in turn love others for who they are.  There is nothing like it–I promise.

 

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Julie
    Dec 24, 2015 @ 07:38:01

    Wow. I’m so sorry that you had to hear those harsh words from such a close family member. But I’m happy for you that your life has flourished since that time. If I believed, I’d say that God has blessed your life choice, but we know better than that, don’t we?

    Reply

  2. ... Zoe ~
    Dec 24, 2015 @ 08:36:38

    Also, I love you with a deep love that can only come from Christ.

    In other words, I would not love you at all if it were not for Christ. Or, in other words, I hate your guts but thanks to Christ I can love you deeply.

    Honestly, how can anyone write that stuff? So painful Barbara. So painful.

    Reply

    • notabarbie
      Dec 24, 2015 @ 08:50:29

      It is. I’ve had several people play the “I love you with the love of Christ” card. It’s a pretty hateful comment, and they just don’t see it as that, and you just can’t get through. Thank you for your comment love ❤

      Reply

  3. David K
    Dec 24, 2015 @ 08:40:56

    “My advice, move on. Stop trying to get loved ones to stop rejecting you. If they truly love you, they will find you. Instead surround yourself with people who love you for who you are, and you in turn love others for who they are. There is nothing like it–I promise.” That hit close to home. I mean, yeah I’m atheist and my family is Catholic, but I moved away about 10 years ago, have visited my family year after year without anyone from my family coming to visit and see what my new life is like. I have somewhat given up on my family coming out to visit but have surrounded myself by people who are like me. Acceptance is very liberating!

    Reply

    • notabarbie
      Dec 24, 2015 @ 08:54:52

      It is, right? Nothing better! I remember, some time after my sister wrote the letter, she apologized and said she wanted us to be sisters again, but that consisted of text messages and nothing more–not even a phone call. Like you, there was never any desire to come visit me or find out what was going on in my life. It was just empty words to ease her conscious. That almost hurt worse. Thank you for reading and for your comment! Truly!

      Reply

  4. sallybr0wn
    Dec 25, 2015 @ 01:48:02

    Wow, that hurt so badly reading that, I can’t imagine my brothers doing the same.

    Like what Zoe said, your sister can only love you because of Christ ! And she is choosing the love over a being she has never physically touch over you…. A human that can physically wrap your arms around her, can babysit her kids in an emergency, can kiss her forehead during a tragedy…. She chose something/someone that she has never physically seen over her flesh and blood !!!

    I’m really sorry for this. I’ve been afraid that I’ll be rejected too… I was a little “in your face” a few months ago and had to stop. I now ignore any religious comments they say and I just let them be happy in their god cloud.

    Reply

    • notabarbie
      Dec 25, 2015 @ 01:53:54

      Thanks for reading and your encouraging comment! I think “being in your face” is something we all do after we leave Christianity. It’s cathartic in a way. If you want to continue a close relationship with your loved ones, it probably is best to ignore the religious comments, because sometimes no matter what you say, it’s perceived as “in your face.” Hang in there and stay in touch!

      Reply

      • sallybr0wn
        Dec 25, 2015 @ 02:00:10

        Lol its the same as being a new Christian, u want everyone to know. I think I wanted my loved ones to see what I saw… But there are blinders in religion and only that person can remove them. Love your blog!!!!

  5. Inna
    Jul 09, 2016 @ 19:18:06

    I have stumbled upon your blog some how. But reading over some things makes me want to tell you, that your family DOES love you , you sister specifically. Love is not telling someone what they wanna her in fear of hurting them, such as if you had cancer and the family doctor, who happens to be a dear friend, was minimizing the diagnosis in fear of hurting your feeling. Love requires painful sacrifice such as a broken relationship due to your sister needing to be honest with you. I hope that the Lord works in your heart and saves you, He has the power to do so and only He can bring satisfaction and true peace.

    Reply

    • notabarbie
      Jul 10, 2016 @ 05:43:38

      You know nothing of my life, yet you know my family loves me? Okay. Just for the record, I don’t need your god. I have plenty of peace and satisfaction these days. If you truly did “stumble upon” my blog, please read more, perhaps you will gain some understanding.

      Reply

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