the 4 major players in my (relatively) healthy deconstruction:
I think this letter will be short and sweet. I want to share with you what the four major players were in my relatively healthy deconstruction.
I say relatively because I did experience some major bumps and bruises, including hurting some people around me whom I love and who love me. I’ve written about those bumps before in previous letters.
Okay, here they are:
1. A good counselor: It took me a while to find one. I live in a fairly small city where everyone seems to know about the church I used to pastor and therefore me by default. I was commonly known as a pastor who lost his faith and left the ministry and the church altogether. So it was impossible for me to find someone around here I could trust, who didn’t have a preconceived opinion about me, and who I could divulge my deepest and darkest secrets to. After putting out some feelers online to a few trusted people, I was put in touch with a person who not only is a depth psychologist, but a spiritual director of sorts. This person also had a similar journey to mine and therefore “got” me. I was put in contact with this person when it was almost too late. Don’t wait too long. My advice is that everyone should journey with a therapist anyway. But my advice is that you certainly should if you’re deconstructing. This person saved me.
2. A few close friends: I’m talking local and online. Of course, my wife Lisa is my best friend. I’m eternally grateful to her for her love, support, and understanding. And patience. Oh yes, patience. Also, I have a few friends with whom I can talk about anything. Interestingly, most of them are my leaders from my last church that I pastored who had eventually left the church too. They aren’t yes-people, but honest, caring folk who let me say anything and everything to them, let me cry on their shoulders, and promised allegiance to me through thick and thin. They are still very close friends, and I credit my recovery to their undying love and friendship. One of the things that we have come to understand is that we should have friends. Find them. Keep them. Trust them. Let them help you as you help them. They saved me.
3. A few good books: I love books. My favorite is biographical and non-fiction, although there are a few good fiction books that informed my journey. We’ve talked about important books before. I have a lot of them now… books that have been my traveling companions, road maps, encouragers, correctors, and informers of my journey. I will always treasure the wisdom that was delivered into my life from these wise people who wrote down their thoughts to help others like me. Books saved me.
4. A good community: One of the hardest things Lisa and I experienced was the sudden loss of community. After a couple years of despairing of ever finding one that understood me, would accept me, and that would support me, I started one of my own online… The Lasting Supper. Without you guys I wouldn’t have made it. You made me feel sane, normal, healthy, and loved. It was a surprise to me, really, that a community formed around my idea of providing resources and support for people who are deconstructing. But it was a pleasant surprise. TLS became my family in a way. It certainly became my community. It became my go-to place where I could be totally me without fear, caution, or hesitation. I really don’t know where I would be without you guys. You saved me.
What could you add to this list? What has been absolutely crucial to your healthy deconstruction process?
Love to you guys, and peace on your paths!