Best of Dharma – Losing My Religion

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The holidays are a great time to revisit some of Dharma’s best – this scenario generated a whole lot of concern from Dharma’s readers, and for good reason.  Dark Road, wherever you are, everyone would sure appreciate knowing how you are doing…

Dear Dharma,

I am a Catholic Priest, less than a year ordained, and I have been thinking very seriously about leaving the church.  There is no girl or relationship that I’m chasing, I just don’t see a future here that I can live with.

The problem is that I’m having trouble seeing any future I can live with.  I have no interest in a relationship or marriage (I have genuinely come to believe that all love is a lie). I have no desire to fix the world or make it a better place. (All efforts seem to be countered by people who just want to make a bigger mess).

I honestly don’t know what I want out of life.  I’ve even begun to wonder if there is a point to dragging on this existence rather than just ending it all and facing my judgement now.

Dark Road

Dear Dark,

It sounds like you are in a very dark place indeed, and leaving the Church should be the least of your concerns at this time, as there are greater things to deal with.  Like wanting to stay alive.

As the Dharma disclaimer says, this is in no way a replacement for the professional advice I sincerely hope you pursue. Even though it sounds like you are done with the pastoral life, be it forever or just for now, does the Church have any services or therapy they can point you towards?  It sounds like you desperately need some assistance in finding your way back towards the light.

Also, have you considered seeing your family doctor?  Maybe there’s something going on physically that is making you feel this way.  For sure everyone feels bleak from time to time, and we’ve all questioned what’s the point of it all, but I honestly believe a lot comes down to making the choice to reach out for help when it all gets too much.

You’re right – life has a lot of misery.  Everyone suffers.  Everyone gets abandoned, and left behind at some point on the path. It’s the sad way of the universe. You are not alone in all of that.  It’s just wanting to find a way to make happiness where we can, finding a way to lighten the load and taking solace in the small moments.  When they are all strung together, it sometimes makes not so bad of a picture, non?

To end your life is a very permanent solution to what could be a temporary problem, and the thing that sucks is that if you make the wrong decision here, you don’t get a re-do, right?

For sure there are people who care about you, even though that notion might not carry any weight for you right now.  Those are the people who will grieve and suffer should you decide that meeting your maker is the priority over getting the help you need, so please, please take some steps and let those qualified lead you back towards your chosen path, wherever that may take you.

Dharma

 

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13 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    i think this person needs more than some church counsellor – their dr should be able to refer them to someone credible

  • Friend of the Dark says:

    You are making light of this situation – this guy is truly disillusioned! He thought he was going to be a Priest for the rest of time and now he has no clue what to do. How is going to the doctor going to help with that????

    • guy with a candle says:

      Did you miss the part where he is seriously considering ending it all? There is a very good chance that this person is suffering from depression or some other sort of chemical disorder. I think it goes much deeper than “oh I guess I need a new job now”, and seeing a medical professional is not a bad step to take.

    • Dharma says:

      In no way did I mean to make light of this situation – which is why I am strongly recommending the help of a counsellor and a physician. If Dark Roads is experiencing depression, then medical attention is of the utmost importance. Figuring out the career path comes later.

  • A different Road says:

    I don’t have a lot of knowledge with religion, however from what i understand isn’t being Catholic/ practicing religion supposed to bring faith and a sense of purpose to life?
    My first thought would be that if this person cannot find these things in being Catholic, maybe it’s time to explore other religious options – especially if they cannot find fulfillment in other aspects of their life. Maybe Buddhism might have some answers?

    • Dharma says:

      Sense of purpose does not only come from religion, though, so I think DR needs to get their physical and emotional well being on track before they will be able to look at other options from a healthy point of view.

      • Oh no for sure i think DR needs are definitely required, i only meant in that one aspect after feeling stable and healthy, i should have been more clear.
        Best of wishes Dark Road! I hope you find help, and your path soon!

  • Winter says:

    I think the fact that he is reaching out to Dharma shows that he does want to find a solution. Talking to someone, even anonymously, can do a world of good. Dark Roads needs to find a good counsellor, someone he can connect with, who can help. Perhaps he has a good friend or mentor who he can confide in who can help him take those first steps.
    I agree with him- it does seem like the world is a mess but a lot of that perception is handed to us by the media. No one wants to hear good news! The world is cruel, and wicked and terrible but there is great beauty, too. There are people who care, and one person can truly make a difference. If you don’t believe this take a look at the successful campaigns on Change.org.
    I sincerely hope that Dark Roads can find peace before it is too late.

    • Dharma says:

      I hope that in reading everyone’s comments that Dark Roads sees that there actually are good people and beauty in the world. Thanks for your comment and for sharing the change.org website.

  • Sunshine ahead says:

    Seeing a councilor is the way to go. I’ve been seeing a councilor now for 6 months or so and I can’t say enough good things about my experience. A councilor is someone that YOU choose to see, so if you never want to speak to them again, that’s your choice. And therein lies the beauty; I find myself opening up so much to this person and in the process being honest with myself about my thoughts and feelings. I’m not afraid that this person will talk about me behind my back or judge me in any way. Once you can be honest with yourself the healing really starts.

  • JK says:

    Finding a new roadmap to life is sometimes necessary and painful. Some of the most important tools to work through such a paradigm shift are finding healthy and reliable support and fostering compassionate space within yourself for the pain that comes up. The death of one’s worldview can be shattering. It takes time and requires grieving. It’s quite possible that the best way to regain faith in love when it is lost is to love oneself with unrelenting determination. Discover with love and compassion and support for yourself what is really going on in this, what you need more than anything, and what life you want to lead and love you want to see in the world. A spiritual death at midlife can mean an amazing rebirth. I hope you find your way.

Do you agree with Dharma, or think she missed the mark on this one? Leave a Comment

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