Just before Christmas he returned to church, entertaining the hope that the community of faith, especially one welcoming to all, might help fill the emptiness he carried inside. It almost worked, for a few weeks.
After this Sunday’s service he retreated down the stone steps into the shadow of a void that no sermon could fill. It is not the church. It is him. He had hoped that faith might come back, comfort him as once it had when… well I can’t really remember when it last provided respite… but there was a time. He worried now that believing was beyond him. To be denied like other comforts. Perhaps one can only fall away from faith so many times before it is impossible to return.
You can only be lifted if you will yourself to let go, you can only be held if you allow yourself to be touched, you can only be loved if you dare to love first. But once you believe you have rendered yourself unlovable, the stalemate is long and sad and lonely.
I suppose I could say he is depressed and that this will pass. I could also admit that he is me and that there is something more fundamental at work.