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Like an Old Pair of Shoes


Deb
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Hey 👋🏻
For the past year I’ve been on a deconstruction journey. I’m still an active minister of religion in a mainstream denomination but also a scared and closeted progressive…I think 🤔

This is my journey so far…

Like an Old Pair of Shoes

My spiritual director has likened my faith journey to an old pair of shoes. 

You know those pair of shoes that you just love, you wear constantly. Some might say you live in them. They have worn you well on sunny days and rainy days. They have been with you through easy days and protected your feet through difficult terrain. Super comfy shoes, like an old friend, and you simply love them. Your favourite shoes and you’d be somewhat lost with out them.

Then comes a day when you notice how worn they are, they don’t seem to fit as well any more, you notice some holes in the sole and you start to question - are these shoes still right for me?  Are these shoes still the right fit? Perhaps I need to consider another pair. But the thought is terrifying because these are your favourite, you’ve had them for years and you can’t imagine not wearing them. But you stop wearing them as often, until one day you stop wearing them altogether, but they reman in your closest because the thought of throwing them away is simply too hard. As you glance at them you recall the occasions they have seen you through - the good, the bad, the fun, the difficult. 

For a while you prefer to remain shoeless rather than replace the old shoes. To even consider replacing them seems wrong, disloyal, terrifying actually because what if you have made a terrible mistake. Being shoeless is painful.  

Slowly you start to try on some new shoes, explore new styles, shapes and fit. Some just feel wrong, but one pair feels OK. A bit uncomfortable at first but after a while of slowly wearing them they become more comfortable and rub less. The old pair are still in the closest because you simply cannot let them go and at the same time this new pair are becoming more and more comfy. You start to feel a sense of relief because you may have just found the right pair to replace the old shoes. Maybe. For now you’ll keep wearing the new but the old pair remain,  for you just can’t bring yourself to throw them away - not yet.

Now the new are becoming more comfortable you start to wonder who’ll notice. Who’ll be the first to realise you’re not wearing those old familiar shoes anymore. Who’ll notice the new ones- who’ll like them, who’ll hate them, who’ll try to convince you to put the old ones back on, who’ll be disappointed, who’ll have the same and call ‘snap, join the club’? Do you need to tell people you’ve changed shoes? Working for the company who made the old pair makes this all the more complicated and you’re scared- scared of being judged, of being called disloyal. Scared it may not be possible for you to remain with the company. Scared the company may need you to leave. Scared of what the future may hold. A future that once was pretty solid and secure. 

Maybe you’ll wear the new shoes discreetly for now, or kinda keep wearing the old ones to work- not flaunt the new ones for a bit.  It’s exhausting. And increasingly so. Some days you’re OK pretending you still fit the old shoeS- why there are even moments of fulfilment and you forget you’re wearing the old ones, and then there are moments where it strikes you just how painful these old shoes are, you kinda collapse, removing the shoes when all have gone home, relishing the relief and dreading the dawn when you’ll do it all over again. How much longer?

What’s worse? - sticking with the old familiar shoes so as to have confidence in what you already know even if they’re killing you or to risk it- embrace the new shoes terrified of what lies ahead, the unknown, the uncertainty. 

Is it possible to introduce the new shoes into your existing world???

To be cont…
 

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Good luck on your journey and hope you find your boots not too comfortable ... for me not being sure is an asset not a detriment.

 

Google Gretta Vosper, you may find a kindred spirit there. Or at least you can compare the latest style of shoes ... ;) 

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On 3/25/2022 at 9:54 PM, Deb said:

What’s worse? - sticking with the old familiar shoes so as to have confidence in what you already know even if they’re killing you or to risk it- embrace the new shoes terrified of what lies ahead, the unknown, the uncertainty. 

I think you can only be who you are.  If what you are learning is changing how you view Christianity, then you really just won't have any choice.  We can only deny the cognitive dissonance for so long. 

For what it's worth, I think once you've worn in your new shoes you'll probably wonder why you ever stuck with the old ones for so long!

All the best.

Cheers

Paul

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