Frozen

“Let it Go”

 

 The snow glows white on the mountain tonight

Not a footprint to be seen

A kingdom of isolation,

And it looks like I’m the Queen.

 

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside

Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried

 

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see

Be the good girl you always have to be

Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know

Well, now they know

 

Let it go, let it go

Can’t hold it back anymore

Let it go, let it go

Turn away and slam the door

 

I don’t care

What they’re going to say

Let the storm rage on,

The cold never bothered me anyway

 

It’s funny how some distance

Makes everything seem small

And the fears that once controlled me

Can’t get to me at all

 

It’s time to see what I can do

To test the limits and break through

No right, no wrong, no rules for me

I’m free

 

Let it go, let it go

I am one with the wind and sky

Let it go, let it go

You’ll never see me cry

 

Here I stand

And here I’ll stay

Let the storm rage on

 

My power flurries through the air into the ground

My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around

And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast

I’m never going back,

The past is in the past

 

Let it go, let it go

And I’ll rise like the break of dawn

Let it go, let it go

That perfect girl is gone

 

Here I stand

In the light of day

Let the storm rage on,

The cold never bothered me anyway

 

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p style=”text-align:left;”>Unexpected things speak to me. For the past several days, I’ve been watching my older daughter dance around the house belting out the words (above) to the academy award winning song, “Let it Go” from the animated Disney musical Frozen. As adorable as it is, the lyrics move me in an uncomfortable way. The song is praised as an anthem of self-discovery. When my three-year-old sings it, I hear bitterness. I hear rebellion. I hear my own voice, my own heart, but I don’t hear truth.

 Don’t let them in. Conceal. Don’t feel. Don’t let it show. This is what having doubts has required. This is what every Sunday has been like for me. Every holiday with my parents, every public prayer I’ve fumbled through. Rather than continuing to justify belief in spite of what has seemed like insurmountable doubt, I reached a point where I simply stopped believing. I let it go.

 But while I can relate to the first part of the song, the rest of it doesn’t ring true for me. I do still care what others think. I do still have fears–will I ever shake the fear that I’ve got this all wrong? I’ve tried to slam the door on my faith, but I haven’t had the strength. I look over my shoulder sometimes, longing to go back through the small opening I left–but knowing that my mind won’t let me. I’d like to say that the cold air outside of the warmth of the Church doesn’t bother me, but I’m freezing. I wish I could tell you that I’m finding myself, but I’ve really never been more lost.

 In many ways, letting go of a belief I couldn’t justify really has been freeing–but it’s at the sacrifice of so much that I held dear. I still have dreams that God speaks to me, and I have to shake them off. I still find myself praying weakly sometimes, even though I don’t believe in prayer. I prayed and asked for prayer when my baby was sick and almost lifeless in my arms. I pray when I wake up suddenly in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. My prayers are no longer beautiful or eloquent, and I never sense any response to them or any divine presence. Still, it’s a habit I can’t break. I miss fellowship with other believers. My husband is an atheist, and I have friends who are atheists–but I miss connecting with people through something that we do believe in, not through something we disbelieve and even despise. I want encouragement in the form of words like “God hasn’t left you,” not encouragement that tells me that religion was just a means to an evolutionary end, so I don’t need it. While I appreciate justification for my lack of belief, it doesn’t feel good. I also miss worship. I want to lift up someone who is greater than I am. Other people have let me down and aren’t worthy of that, but my imaginary God never did– I could always blame my heartache on a fallen world and on people who disobeyed Him. My walk in faith was always a journey through mountains and valleys, and I’m finding that atheism works the same way for me. I have been on the Frozen mountain of defiance. Right now I’m in the valley of the heart of flesh.

 Most of my followers are Christians, and you’ll relish in my weakness here. My husband will cringe (along with other atheists, especially those who feel emancipated from the harms of religion) but he doesn’t follow my blog and won’t get a notification when I post, so there’s no telling when he’ll see it. I’m completely honest with him, but sometimes it’s easier to say things in this way than face to face. He’ll read it eventually, and he is perfectly gentle with my heart. One thing I know is that I cannot justify belief, and that is unlikely to ever change. I’m still only a counterfeit Christian. But I’m done pretending like this is easy. The beauty of anonymity is that I can be honest here. And honestly, no matter how hard I try and how convincingly I pretend, I can’t just let it go. I have a frozen exterior, but still a molten core. 

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