I guess I am crazy for trying to teach my 6 and 4 year old kids to play chess. I hope I won’t become one of those parents that insists on straight 10 out of 10 marks (or A+) and will blame the school if the result is anything less. Nevertheless it is great fun teaching them new things, and I always try to make sure they want to learn it themselves, instead of me pushing it on them.
Success rates in playing chess are not remarkable though, to say the least… these kids of mine change the rules constantly. They perform impossible moves (a queen jumping over other pieces, horse moving only in one direction) but will happily play on. They have no idea about checkmate yet (so the game usually ends weird), and they have the strategic insight of about zero to one moves. There is a long way to go…
While having fun with chess, I thought about how my life feels a lot like playing chess right now. Who do I tell what, in which order? How about my work? How about the prayer supporters, how about my family? What will others do, which pawns will they move, how will this affect me, or others close to me?
Coming out ‘publicly’ on the blog was the first move of my king piece from behind the pawns of everyday life, trying not to hide but show where I am at. And while most responses have been great and heartfelt, it is hard to experience this wave of sadness in many friends and family over this situation. And to keep in line with the chess analogy: my words and actions now have much more potential to attack pieces of the opposite color, and the other way around. People that used to be on the same team, and are still friends, can now become the ‘opponent’ in this silly game of chess.
And that is not what I am after. I don’t want to create enemies. I don’t want this to be black vs. white. I realized this in the feedback on a different post about the analogy of the planets, and how I could not breathe on the Christian planet anymore. Some found it condescending to ‘look down’ on Christians like that, or to suggest that we all live in isolated bubbles (which is not true obviously).
Me and my Big Mouth
I’m about to start blogging about content now, about the real journey that took place for me, and the actual things that kept me in the faith, and those that drove me out. I hope to answer questions that I got so far, or new questions that will pop up.
In all of that, I also hope you can have patience with me, as I have a big mouth sometimes. I’m Dutch, from one of the most direct areas of the Netherlands, where blunt communication has developed into a form of art. You only realize that when you move outside of Holland and you see jaws dropping to the floor after every sentence you utter… on top of that, I’m an extravert, a big picture kind of person, and by ‘nature’ I value truth over compassion (which I try not to…).
My point? I know exactly what it is like to be a Christian, yet some of the thoughts I have had before now sometimes seem false, silly or even dangerous to me. Does it mean that I am right? Nope. But I hope you can all understand that when I attack a thought, or speak about different worlds, I mean we are only dealing with concepts and thoughts. Take it at that level. Although my deconversion has been a tremendously profound and deep experience, I am still “me”. You are not the same as the ideas in your mind that I may be questioning (I am preaching to myself here too). We can both marvel at the universe, laugh over a good joke, enjoy food, sports, philosophy, etcetera. And maybe, we can learn from each other as well, even more when we approach life from a different point of view.
I hope you will point out to me in my blog where I go wrong, so we can both learn from each other. We can’t teach other directly, but we can show paths where we think truth may be found.