There were times when looking up at the stars triggered hard conversations. The pinpricks stabbed at questions about creation, attacks on theories and interpretations, and ideas that whispered destruction of three decades of believing.
The agony of star-gazing usually happened around a campfire, at a campground, where our small space ebbed and flowed with rest and tension.While we had tried to capture family moments away from the battleground of home, our arguments tiptoed beside us, and grew glaringly bright by the firelight. That’s what happens when a newly born-again atheist kindles his passion through nature’s design. It’s like a baby Christian who feels it necessary to shout Jesus at every encounter (raising my hand as this was totally me). The new follower is powerfully loud, and can be pretty destructive if unbridled. It beat up our marriage those early days of his deconversion. And I am taking half credit for the fight. Another powerful force is a believer irrationally protecting her faith. His impassioned narrative about how Earth really came to be (according to Dawkins, Darwin, Sagan) was a bulldozer to my joy in creation, a wildfire consuming my peace in stories of old. Those were moments that sent me spiraling, caused me to lash out, made me truly consider divorce. I didn’t know God was using all of it.
I can see it now, though.
This picture was taken as we camped this weekend. Together, we look up and marvel at the sky, the stars, the science, the creation. Nothing has changed much about our beliefs or unbeliefs. Mine have broadened a bit more, I guess. And he is settled with me not needing to be his sounding board and persuasion project. We just be. Because of the storm that was, the pruning of our hearts, especially mine, and a mutual appreciation of marriage beyond the valley.
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