T.A. Barnhart

carpe bucko

what to do next

I just started reading “Faitheist” by Chris Stedman. Like me, he was an evangelical who became an atheist; unlike me, he is also gay and seems to have a natural gift for empathy. Despite all he’s been through, he has a deep well of compassion for others.

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I think I also have a lot of compassion, but somehow I find it hard to live out in real time. Obviously, my mental illness hampers that. My depression – or whatever combination of health issues combine to make up my particular illness – has me focused on myself relentlessly, like a solipsistic laser beam. I am far more likely to get pissed at people than feel their pain.

Being a Christian did not help me in the long run, but I was shown so much love by so many people in the decade I walked that path. I was cared for in times of loneliness and need. I was accepted, more or less, as I was. The Christians I knew and lived among were wonderful people. The flaws in our shared religion were not their fault, and probably caused many of them crises similar to what I experienced.

I walked away. But I still have not figured out what comes next. I do lots of stuff, but I have not actually done anything meaningful. I didn’t even get the chance to be a father to my two kids. My grandkids are growing up and I rarely see them. I have opportunities galore to do exciting things that I know I’d be good at; instead I let each day slip by unsullied by my efforts to make a difference.

I have not figured out what to do next. So I tread water, waste time, wander down tangents, regret the lost and wasted time.

I learn stuff I do not apply, because I have no fucking idea what I really want to do with my life.

What I need to do with my life.