"How's it going, Billy?"
I hadn't told anyone the extent of my troubles. From the outside, my life didn't look that bad. I was married to an intelligent and gorgeous woman, had a healthy baby boy and was president of a local media company. But I was dying inside. And Will was too good of a friend. I couldn't lie to him by saying I was fine. Taking a deep breath, I decided, for once, to tell the truth. I described, with deep shame, every last humiliating detail of my life. It wasn't cathartic for meit just filled me with more self-loathing.
Will's reaction was unexpected. He didn't seem fazed by any of it. I couldn't detect any judgment or disapproval. His response was matter-of-fact. He first asked if I was suicidal. I wasn't, though I conceded that I did believe everyone in my life would be better off if I were dead. Then, with the certainty of someone describing the law of gravity, he concluded, "You need God. That's what's missing in your life."
God? I hadn't given Him much thought since I stopped going to church the first chance I could, at age 17.
"Everyone has a God-shaped hole in their soul," he continued. "We all try to fill it with somethingdrugs, alcohol, work, sexuntil we stumble upon God. He's the only thing that fills that hole. I was a lot like you until I surrendered my life to God. Why not try it? It can't hurt. Look at where you are with you in control. Get yourself to church, Billy."
It sounded right. More importantly, it felt like a way out. If Will had said in the same confident tone, "You need crack cocaine. That's what missing in your life," it probably would have sounded good, too. I was desperate enough to try anything that would get rid of the pain that had enveloped me like quicksand.
"I'll go to church this Sunday," I said numbly. "Just tell me where."
The foregoing is excerpted from Losing My Religion by William Lobdell. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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