Dear Alice,

Have you ever felt trapped? Well, today I felt trapped by so many things that naming them would take up this entire letter. The morning started off great. I did some meditation and experienced a freedom I hadn’t felt in a long time, but as soon as I stepped foot in church, I knew something was off.

I can’t tell what it was really, but I can’t help but feel that that something was me. That I was the thing that didn’t belong in this church. Maybe because I’m not sure I believe the same things that they believe in, maybe it was that I don’t look like they do, or that I don’t love like they do. Something about me being there felt off. I know I’ve wanted to leave for a while, but I’m not sure if I can hold off until I finish a master’s degree. I have this sinking feeling that I need to move on sooner than I expected.

I don’t know, Alice, but I feel trapped here. I feel like all the best parts of me, or at least what I consider to be my best parts, are twisted here. I like to believe that I’m a kind person and that I’m nice, but here it feels like I’m forcing kindness as a way to fit in. But what am I trying to fit in to?

I don’t think I believe in hell anymore, Alice. I don’t know what this means for my faith, as I realized that a lot of it relied on some belief that those who are good get a reward and those who are not get punished. Because if there is no hell, what happens to the people who aren’t good? Do they just cease to exist? Are they somehow redeemed? I don’t doubt that God can redeem all people; I think it’s just my own fears being projected into this idea.

Because if God simply erases those who aren’t good, then what will become of me? How do I know if I’m doing the right thing? I don’t want to worship out of fear. I don’t want to be the person who comes before God afraid of doing the wrong thing. Maybe I’m just overthinking the whole thing. Maybe I’m just looking for excuses to distance myself from this church (as if I needed any more excuses).

I don’t know what to do here. I feel kinda lost, kinda sad, and very much confused. Thank you for listening to all my rambling. You’re a good friend.

I’ll talk to you soon,

Love,
Alex

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