Skip to main content
PBS logo

The Eclectic Pen - When finally I shrugged off my faith...

By: Paul H. (nessus19) - ,   + 43 more  
Date Submitted: 5/7/2007
Last Updated: 5/15/2007
Genre: Uncategorized
Words: 231

  When finally I shrugged off my faith, at last letting it fall away from my shoulders like cloak on a forever summer day – the weight I carried was diminished, but the heat about me remained. I found I still bore a stifling garment of accusations and cautionary tales, gentle pleadings and leaden disappointments. Cleverly woven and fitted to me by those whose loving grace was hammered down and finely tempered by sacramental sadness and righteous rigidity.
They continue to punch their cards, singing out praises, and updating their fire insurance…looking askance at me all the while.
I have failed them.
I have failed myself.
The jettisoning of what I was told – once upon a time, from a story book whose onion-skin pages were bound up faded leather – quietly revealed what I needed to accept.
It has never been easy. There are still questions. But now I am free to ask them as they should be asked.
And so, the heat has abated at last
I’ve stripped off the last vestiges of unneeded cloth. And now I find my body and my thinking less constrictive.
I breathe easier. My steps feel lighter.
Perhaps there was nothing to fail after all. No flights of fancy, and no fatal falls.
And even on those days when it is one damn thing after another, how could I miss a time when it was one thing damned after another?

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Paul H. (nessus19) - ,

Member Comments

Leave a comment about this story...

Comments 1 to 13 of 13
IONE L. (zaneygraylady) - 5/7/2007 10:34 PM ET
You and I see things the same way. Well told.
Marta J. (booksnob) - 5/8/2007 3:03 PM ET
I like this a lot!
Sabiel C. (sabu423) - 5/8/2007 6:45 PM ET
love it!
Karen K. (k5karen) - 5/9/2007 9:28 AM ET
and the point is?
Jim H. (Pecos45) - 5/9/2007 2:59 PM ET
Most of us go through a period of thinking like this. Enjoy the illusion. Hopefully you will come to realize that most of the things being "damned" are the work of man, not the creator.
Sandra (mycatscanread) - - 5/9/2007 5:44 PM ET
Nicely and honestly written.
Maggie M. - 5/9/2007 6:20 PM ET
I love this too--especially the last 2 lines. Excellent and effective word play.
Paul H. (nessus19) - , - 5/10/2007 2:18 PM ET
Random thoughts from the author... Karen: Not every story has a "point" -- at least not an explicit one -- but every story has perspectives or emotions to convey. I won't belabor you with what they are for this piece. I'm sure you can discern them for yourself. Best, Paul Jim: Thanks for your candor. I prefer to think of a fundamental change in my life (especially at my age and for the better) as something more than a "period." Living consciously includes adapting to and recognizing personal change. If you choose to call this a period, so be it, but in this instance it is a period of growing and understanding. I agree with you to a degree on the damning nature of men. But without a formalized instution actively promoting codified, hierarchical, and inflexible thinking (as exemplified in some religious doctrine), I believe the impetus for men to excessively judge and condemn would be significantly lessened. Thanks for you feedback. Best, Paul
Coy V. (coyvan) - 5/10/2007 6:29 PM ET
Eloquently put. Parallel (sp?) my own experience. Thanks
Wendy lee L. (wendylee) - 5/10/2007 11:53 PM ET
beautiful. absolutely beautiful. i felt every word........ thank you.
Tina H. (EclecticHSmom) - 5/12/2007 12:24 AM ET
This is very eloquent. I have questioned, yet kept my faith, but it is discouraging that there really is so much "sacramental sadness and rigidity" where there ought to be joy and freedom. Well spoken. Thanks for sharing this.
Lena S. (SquirrelNutkin) - 5/25/2007 8:00 PM ET
When I read this it made me feel like even though I don't know you.....I feel as if I was very good.
Brandy M. (jimaneye) - 5/26/2007 9:06 PM ET
This is a well written piece, very thought provoking - or at least emotion provoking. I personally stand firm in my faith - not religion. very nice though.
Comments 1 to 13 of 13