The World I Left

My old world

Tonight, I visited the world I left.

It’s a small world of simplicity, religion, and tight-knit Christians.

When I sat in the dark green pew tonight, and saw the familiar plain white walls around me, it was like I traveled back in time.

I could easily remember sitting in those exact same pews as a little boy, singing hymns and learning about God.

The plan was for me, the 22 year-old, to still be sitting there. But instead of being there tonight as an apathetic heretic, I was supposed to have been there as a devoted Christian striving to do God’s will.

In one sense, the evening was so familiar.

Even after being gone for 3 years, I still knew all the words to the hymns that were sung. The singing was just like I remembered, and the preaching was delivered by someone who I grew up knowing and respecting. While I sat there, it felt like it would be so easy to morph back into the world I knew so well for 19 years.

That world holds so many great memories and is full of amazing people.

At the same time, my visit felt weird. It felt weird, because now I am an outsider.

In the sea of black suits and dark dresses, my light blue shirt stood out like a sore thumb. I was noticeable and conspicuous – both of which I dislike. When people I know get up and speak about how the outside world can never satisfy, I know that they are trying to explain to me that I will not find satisfaction or happiness with my life’s choice. When prayers are lifted up for the sinners in the midst, I know who they are praying for – me.

In September 2009, I walked away from that world. And tonight I can still vividly recall the details and feelings that fateful night. When I woke up the next morning, it was as if I had stepped onto a different planet. Nothing was the same. I had no idea how to integrate into this outside world. This world that you take for granted because it is so familiar to you, I was clueless about it. Everything was unknown.

During the past 3 years, I have made great progress in figuring out life on the outside. Damning progress to be exact. But no matter how well I get to know this outside world, I think that there will always be that molecule in me that feels at home in the world I left.

It is impossible for me to forget the places, people, memories, friendships, and family that I left. That’s a world I always remember.

But the very essence of that world is Christianity, so because of my happiness with my life’s choice and my apatheism, I don’t expect to return to that world.

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