Letter To My Mother

Dear Mom,

I’m not sure how to tell you this. I definitely can’t tell you in person, because I know it will break your heart. A few weeks ago, I was very sick, and I was very upset, and for a brief moment, I genuinely tried to make peace in my heart with the concept of God, and I genuinely believed in Christ. I called to tell you because I know you’re a Christian, and I knew it would make you happy.

What I didn’t realize is how big of a mistake I was making. You cried and told me that this was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened in your life, that you knew you could die peacefully now, and all of your prayers had been answered. Knowing those things is a lot of weight of me, because soon after that phone call I realized that I was just having a moment of weakness, that I needed something to cling to while I was sick and very scared.

The way I see it I have two options: I can go the rest of my life pretending, only around you, to be Christian, because it will make you happy, or I can be honest about who I am. If this only affected me, maybe I could continue to lie to you, just to make you happy, but my sister is thirteen, at a critical point in her life, and I want her to know that I’m not afraid to be who I am, regardless of how it affects other people, because who I am isn’t a choice. I didn’t make a choice not to be Christian, I just am not Christian. No one is born Christian, or Muslim, or Buddhist, they’re just born humans, and that’s what I am: a human. I want to be a good influence on my sister by showing her that it’s okay to be yourself.

So, unfortunately, I have to tell you that no, I did not make peace with God. No, I do not believe in the existance of a living Christ or a Holy Spirit, and I have not accepted any of them into my heart to change me and reshape me, because I love exactly who I am, and those beliefs simply cannot coincide with my own happiness. Not because I’m afraid to believe, not because I’m insecure, not because I think that an all-knowing God hates me, but because I know in my heart that it’s not true, as I’ve always known, and no matter hard I try to make myself believe, I simply can’t. It’s just not who I am, and it never will be.

I appreciate your prayers when you offer them up on my behalf. I believe that we live in a world where positive energy like the kind you give to the universe when you pray for my health and wellness and happiness can directly have an impact on my life, and I don’t doubt that your prayers have been effective for yourself and for the people you’ve prayed for, but I don’t believe it’s because an all-knowing creator heard them and chose to answer them for you. Over time I’ve come to accept that being Christian is who you are, just as over time I hope you’ll come to accept that not being Christian is who I am. It’s hard for you to do, I know, and it’s hard for me to understand the choice that you make to believe what you do, but your life is your own and I have no right to make decisions about what you believe, and I understand now that no one else has the right to expect to believe something they do.

It truly makes me sad to have to tell you this, because knowing how happy it made you to hear that I believed in Christ made me feel so fulfilled and proud of myself for making you happy, but unfortunately, I would rather you live your life knowing that I am open about who I am, and unafraid for the world to know, than to think I’m something that I’m not. It would be a heinous lie to you that I know I would one day regret. If you truly were to die happy, believing that I was a Christian, I’d spend the rest of my life knowing that you went to your grave believing a huge lie that I’d told you, and the weight of that lie would follow me for the rest of my life.

So this is the truth. And, as a very wise man, who I believe may very well may have existed, but who I do not believe is the creator of the universe, is credited as having said, “The truth will make you free.”

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