They say there is a sweet spot where passion meets purpose. That is one of those things I just kinda hope is true.
The end of high school all the way through college is a whole period of trying to figure out what this looks like. I moved to Chattanooga two weeks out of college to stay with my sister for the summer because I knew I’d be miserable if I stayed with my parents in our small town where I’d have to drive at least an hour for any decent job interviews. My other sister did that, but I don’t have the kind of patience she possesses. I chose to run away.
When I first moved to Chattanooga, I spent a month volunteer tutoring at a Christian facility for teens from broken homes (family member in jail, terminally ill, etc.). I was still hanging on by a thread as a Christian at the time, and there was one 15-year-old teen who very quickly decided to trust me and pulled me aside one day to tell me the kind of insane responsibilities she has because her parents are deadbeats. She was crying and saying that she knows God is looking out for her. Even then, I knew I couldn’t echo that promise to her. I didn’t pray with her. I didn’t tell her God works everything out for the good of those who love him. I hugged her and let her cry. I told her she’s strong, because she is. I told her that I believe in the power of her will to make things right in her family, because I do.
I’m not really a sappy person, but that was a sappy little story. It’s also the story that intersects my “old” (Christian) and “new” (atheist) self. I passionately love people just as much now as I did before and during my transition. Being a Christian never held that passion for me. I didn’t love because Christ first loved. I love because it’s all I know to do.
I lost my faith because I didn’t see how it was necessary. It filled no hole in my life. Holes were implanted from childhood, of course. I was told that my life only has meaning because of my Creator, and anything I do that isn’t done for God is only done in vain. Those ideas were fed to me, but they were ideas that I was eventually able to see as not wholly merited. It’s very odd to go from a formulaic existence to an ambiguous existence. I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know where reason and logic really came from. I don’t know why I love other people.
I just do. In college, I would think, “My passion is people. Why am I doing math?” Since starting my job in marketing analysis, I’ve figured out why I did math. I really love problem-solving. The challenge I face now is finding a place where I can solve problems that benefits people in the ways that are purposeful for me. Taking away the extraneous factor of listening for my “calling” has, oddly enough, made me more open to my options. I wouldn’t have thought God was calling me to marketing analysis.
This post is lacking focus a bit. What I really want is to find the words to explain how much better life is without God, but that’s difficult. When I find those words, I’ll post them.