How reliable are our memories from childhood?

Yesterday during my first therapy session I was asked questions that I struggled to know how to answer. The emotions and understanding associated with my childhood memories suddenly felt very unreliable. I told her that I was a fish trying to describe water. It was hard for me to know what was normal and what wasn’t if it was all I had experienced.

Part of my hope in starting therapy was that I’d get an objective look into my current life which is filled with all sorts of blurred boundary lines and subjective opinions. I had hoped that we would be avoiding talking about my family life growing up.

That doesn’t seem like a realistic goal at this point. Within what felt like a few seconds, we were already talking about my family growing up. And it felt somewhat therapeutic.

How reliable are our answers from our faith?

There’s a lot in my psyche these days that feels unsettled. It’s not the same as having lots of doubts. It’s not the same as feeling hopeless or lost or even just sad. I feel like I don’t know how to be fully confident in something like a memory or in a very specific belief, usually related to the spiritual/religious elements of my life.

For many years of my life my confidence was very much founded in my ability to grasp onto doctrines of faith presented to me by religious scholars and pastors. Emphasis on knowing details were emphasized. Knowing the right answers was the key to having a solid faith. But now I believe that asking the right questions is the key to having a vibrant faith that leads toward a more graceful and compassionate future.

I think a significant part of my faith now is letting go of some the “answers” that I was so firmly holding on to. Sometimes merely out of fear of being rejected by the only religious communities I know.

My faith these days is very much composed of being ok with not having all the answers. It’s more interested in being in awe of the ungraspable realities around us. My faith lives in that tension a lot. And it’s becoming an essential part of my worldview.


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