Massive Life Overhaul

Where to begin? I have issues of fidelity, marriage, children, religion, science, and belief bouncing around in my head, to name a few.

These are tough topics to tackle, made even tougher by the audience that might read what I’m about to write. My apologies to any friends or family that will be shocked or offended by this post. This site started out as a journal for me, evolved into a training log, and then moved into a platform for me with a reading audience. I know quite a lot of that audience has dropped off in the last few years, but I assume that I still have the occasional friend, family member, or reader who will happen by here. It is time for me to get back to writing for me as I wade through this next period of exploration in my life.

So. I was a fraud.

I was not the happy, loving husband. I was not the morally upright Christian. I was not the intelligent geek. And 2012 was the year that it all came to a head. A friend told me recently that you can only wear masks and pull off a lie for so long before it becomes unsustainable. This year, my lies became unsustainable.

I wrote a long time ago that people live a life that is truly based off of what their priorities are. I THOUGHT that intelligence and logic were a priority to me. Heck, I’m a programmer, and those two items are part and parcel of what I undertake every day at the office. I thought I was fairly well-educated. I thought I approached life from a logical perspective. I thought I was rational.

I was raised in a very rigidly religious household. Discussion of things non-Biblical did not occur in our household. Science, when it came to evolution, was looked down upon with scorn. A show from NatGeo referencing carbon dating and the earth being so many billion years old? Hogwash. Carl Sagan on Nova? Turn that rubbish off. No explanation was ever given, none of the inconsistencies were ever discussed, and science, in relation to how it conflicted with religion’s teachings, was shunned. Now, I wasn’t explicitly TOLD not to believe these things, but the unspoken rigidity of belief created a culture that caused me to fear speaking against things and definitely guided me away from asking questions.

But I doubted. I would sneak In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy when my parents weren’t watching. I would watch the forbidden Nova. I would read sci-fi novels by Asimov and Clarke, Orwell and Bradbury. They taught me about a world of belief and science and culture that was completely foreign to mine. One that was “other” or “outside” and so completely different and fascinating compared to the sheltered world that I was raised in.

Oh, there were times where I was more vocal about my disbelief. My dogtags in the Marines were imprinted with “Agnostic.” And it was years after I left home before I sought out a church again. But the church culture, despite my upbringing, felt wrong and strange and often lacking in logic and intelligence. Yet, sought it out again, I did. I would often quote Proverbs 22:6–”Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it”–as the reason I came back into the fold. But honestly, the real reason I went back to the church was because I felt like I was expected to. It was part of the life plan that I should be living out. It was what was right.

So I gave it my best. I put everything into learning Godspeak. I poured myself into belief and internalizing and teaching and setting examples. And I thought I did a pretty decent job of it. But all the while, I felt like I was perpetrating a fraud. I pictured myself as this little black spot in a room full of bright light. I would pray with pastors and fear that God would give them insight into my disbelief. Which, as I write that out, makes no logical sense. But more on that later. I didn’t consciously set out to deceive people, and I genuinely tried to extol the virtues of the teachings of Christ as well as live them out in my life. But the Bible? Creation? Virgin birth? An interventionist God? I couldn’t wrap my head around believing these things.

So, if I felt like I valued intelligence and logic, why did I not question what I was being taught and what I was regurgitating? Because it wasn’t a priority for me. I put that priority behind the appearance I had to maintain for my family and friends. I had to wear masks for people to see the Jeff that they expected to see. I had a role to fill and there was an expectation that I had to live up to. Also, the culture in church is not one of honesty. Oh, everyone will talk ad nauseum about truth and challenging your faith and asking questions, but in reality, the hard questions are never answered. If the question is too challenging, the answer is faith.

Faith. Faith, belief that is not based on proof. The concept of faith has really got me to thinking lately. We, as humans, live in a logic-based world. We react to our environment with logic. We expect it to behave a certain way based on how we have observed it behaving. Our brains make logical pathways and logical assumptions based on how we learn. We communicate with each other using a logic-based method of reasoning and language. Everything about us is steeped in logic. So, why faith? Why, if God created this world around us and us to interact with it based on logic, and if the world it created is supposed to lead us to believe that God exists, why faith?

So, that seed. That little one right there, doubting faith and believing in logic, was the tipping point for my priorities. The more I thought about that idea, the more the mental shackles of thought were thrown off and the more I began challenging the inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and omissions that I had been exposed to for my nearly four decades. And those changed priorities have led me to a complete overhaul of my life. They have led me to re-evaluate what I want from life, re-evaluate what it means to be happy, re-evaluate how I want to raise my son, re-evaluate what it means to be intelligent, re-evaluate what is truly important.

And now I sit here, a single dad, in a loving relationship with a wonderful, intelligent woman, reading about atheism, creation science, gender equality and how to make home made sunscreen lotion.

Let the exploration begin.

soundtrack for this post
hipsters ministry
lick jesus built my hotrod
wax psalm69

10 thoughts on “Massive Life Overhaul

  1. The great news is that you’ve got tons and tons of time to enjoy being who you want to be. I’m so, so happy for you, Jeff. I’m at work so I can’t write much at the moment, but let me just say that I’m with you – and I’d be honoured to be a part of your new journey if you’ll have me. :)

  2. Thanks, Mark. You’re my go-to guy for all things cross-dressing and using a family to make the letter “J”. I’ll probably hit you up for some light reading sometime soon.

  3. Reminds me of when I came out of the closet about choosing a path of self-determination over patriarchal indoctrination while being *gasp* female!

    Wonderful essay, Jeff. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

  4. It is what we’ve done that, in large part, informs who we are and are to become. Life is a lively journey of riding and finding and chasing one’s ever-evolving self.

    Does it hurt or help you to call yourself a “fraud?” The word has a negative connotation, so I can’t help but wonder if it hurts. I think of you as an instigator of positive change.

    On on! Bigger, better, smarter, loving-er, happier.

  5. Thanks for sharing.

    Down through the years, I’ve grown to value logic, skepticism, rationality, and science. The questions you’ve been asking, I think all of us have asked, at some point. If we’re really good, we never really stop asking them.

  6. Hi Jeff – great to see you back. I had that year too not long before you. The sun on my face became a new and precious experience. May I never forget that. Welcome to the next chapter -

  7. Fraud is such a harsh word to apply to such a wonderful transformation. Liberation doesn’t always come easy but it always comes with joy so here’s to much joy in your life, Jeff!

    And for what it’s worth – you never seemed like the Lordy type to me – that just never computed, so something of the rationalist must have always shined through it all.

  8. Hey Jeff,
    “little black spot in a room full of bright light” seems an inaccurate description for a guy that I used as an example for years in tech demos when talking about the power of blogging; a guy who found a group of us all training for our first marathon, who drove a couple of states to pick us all up at our hotels in a strange city and treat us all to a carbo-load dinner, and then drive back around to our hotels early the next morning, not once but twice, first to pick up the runners and then later to pick up the families and then drive them around to the seven, the fourteen, etc – the same guy who handed me the keys to his brand new Xterra afterwards and told me to drive myself home and lock the keys in the car and go pass out and that he’d be by later on his bike to pick up the 25k automobile he lent to a stranger – not what I’d describe as a little black spot on anything.

    I think that is actually grammatically correct…

    Obviously I have a lot of respect for this man, based on his actions as an athlete, coach (Juls) and war time marine. I was sorry to hear that Jeff spent as long as he did in the same mental prison of self doubt and need to be ‘good’ that we all subject ourselves to a lesser or greater extent in our lives. I hope that he will hold onto this breakthrough for the rest of his days.

    Jeff, I can relate. I don’t have faith because I can’t believe even though I wish I could.

    Long may you run.

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