This morning, I was watching The Voice and one of the contestants chose “Jesus Take The Wheel” for her song. I was disappointed. I thought, “lame.” Then she started singing. She’s good and at first I thought I was just moved by her voice, but then as the lyrics unfolded, I began to cry. It freaked me out, because I thought “What the hell? What’s wrong with me? Jesus isn’t real.” Jesus isn’t real. The realization came to me, as it had so many times before and I was grieving. That’s all it was. It’s kind of like when someone you love more than anything passes away. There will be something that just pops up that reminds you of them and then you grieve all over again. That’s how it was for me when she started singing.
This is something only an ex-Christian can understand. From the time I was 3 or 4, I really believed there was a man named Jesus that loved me no matter what and loved me so much that he suffered and died so that I could live. He heard my prayers and always did what was best for me. I loved him, and then he was gone. When I felt the tears start, part of me was pissed because I had been spoon-fed a lie. A lie that affected my whole life, to the point that when years later I hear a song, I grieve all over again. But, also, part of me was relieved, because my grief is okay—expected. It’s okay for me to grieve loss and that’s what that was.
I think at the beginning of my de-conversion, I didn’t allow myself tears because that could mean I still believe, or that I’m going to get sucked back in. Now though, I realize it’s just the affirmation that there was someone in my life (albeit a myth) that I loved and depended on, more than anyone else and now he is gone—dead and when something reminds me of him, I grieve. To be honest, I miss him.
What I think Christians don’t understand about many ex-Christians is that we wanted to believe that the Jesus/God of the Bible was real. We never wished him dead—quite the opposite, but desiring something to be true or real, doesn’t make it so. Does it? The truth is, there was never anyone there to “take the wheel” for me when I felt out of control. It was always just me and although I may shed tears over the loss, I’ve never felt more whole. I’ve never felt more in control. So Jesus, I’ll keep my hands on the wheel. I’m doing just fine, thank you.