The First Loss
When I speak of faith, I am speaking of faith in several forms. There is loss of faith in self, loss of faith in ideals (such as love), loss of faith in the world, loss of faith in others, and, loss of faith in God. Once faith is possessed I think it may be very damn near impossible to completely lose it — not completely impossible you understand, just damn near. The problem with measuring it in your life is that as the value approaches zero, the effectiveness goes down with it to the point that it is easy to say it is non-existent if you are judging it on its productive power.
Faith in any one or multiples of the above can be so near completely lost as to make its effect in a person’s life negligible.
12 years ago it was like this: my faith in self was strong. My faith in the world was nonexistent. Faith in the world is always a losing proposition from the start. No big deal. The world is going to hell one way or another. The only question is “when.” My faith in others was strong. Humanity as a group is great. It’s certain individuals who fuck up the record for everybody else.
Women, just because you get shafted by a man or two or three, that doesn’t mean that the whole gender is evil. You’re just not taking a large enough sample. Men, just because you’ve had a wife or two that’re Devil Spawn, that doesn’t mean you should stop looking. As a matter of fact, boys and girls, if you’re batting record is standing at zero no matter how many times you approach the plate, then perhaps you should look for a common denominator in the mirror. Catch my drift?
The last one, faith in God is the biggie. It is the one to which all the rest are compared — even if you consider yourself an Atheist. I don’t believe there is such a creature as a “true” Atheist. If you broaden the definition of “God” beyond standard organized “religion,” then any concept of a superior force to anything that is physically and currently capable of being experienced applies. Therefore, a person who believes in nothing more than their own power of self-determination qualifies as a “god lover” even if that god is only themselves. I realize this is arguable and grant that there just might be such a thing as a True Atheist, but this consideration greatly reduces the available pool.
The point is irrelevant, because the God I believed in 12 years ago is the one with a capital “G” and a son named Jesus.
My faith back then was unquestioned. The thought never came up. I simply believed because it was apparent to my spirit by what I called “divine revelation.” But, for practical purposes, God, to me, was just simply “there.” He didn’t do anything to influence my existence other than just watch me in a very impersonal and “hands off” fashion. He didn’t help me in any tangible way nor did he harm me. I didn’t pray to him and he didn’t speak to me. We got along just fine together and separately.
Or so I thought.
At the turn of the century I was unhappily married and getting my Master’s degree. My father died that year and my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. My siblings abdicated any responsibility whatsoever to help care for my mother, so my wife and I moved into her very large house. My wife worked during the day while I took care of the house and mom. I also became business and property manager for the considerable properties left by my father. At night I took my graduate classes and my wife was there for mom.
Our marriage was in trouble, but I was unaware of how serious the trouble was. My wife indicated nothing other seriously wrong than that she didn’t want to work. She expected that I would work and support the two of us while she stayed home and kept house. We had discussed this and came to an agreement that when I received my advanced degree I would then start working and she could stay home. The greatly increased income I would receive by dint of my advanced education was to be the payoff for the wait.
I had a long history of alcohol abuse, I was sober for more than a year at this stage. My alcohol use and behaviors relating to it was claimed by Mrs. Gryphon to be the cause for the unraveling of the marriage. I wholeheartedly agreed to that possibility and not only got myself clean but was going to counseling to address the cause of my drinking in the first place. The marital road was still extremely rocky but I was extremely confident that everything was working toward a positive conclusion. There was still an extremely large elephant in the room though, that I conveniently ignored. I was forced into confronting it by my wife’s announcement that she wanted a divorce.
The marriage was bad from the beginning. While my alcoholism was certainly a contributing factor, there was so much else seriously wrong with the union that no amount of behavior and attitude modification on my part alone could correct it. It would have taken a joint effort. She had serious relationship destroying flaws of her own, and, unlike me, she was unwilling to work on them let alone admit to them.
So she left. We got divorced. And my life went completely to hell.
(to be continued)
Click to continue reading in Part III