"It's altogether meaningless to me /
'Cause something deep down in my heart /
Something that made me who I was... Invisible..."
The loss of identity is a staggering thing, but we've learned to expect it... sometimes.
We expect an identity crisis to occur around the onset of adolescence, or we expect to have a "mid-life crisis" at some point... Because we're very familiar with those sorts of transitions. They are time-honored rites of passage, and – though what takes place during those seasons remains difficult – we've learned to accept them. We even know how to make light of them and keep a sense of peace. Still, any a process of metamorphosis, newly shaping who we are, is not an easy one. Even if we know we should expect it.
So how much more staggering is the unintended and unexpected identity crisis?
For so many Christians experiencing doubt and grief over a loss of faith, this has become their reality. There's this new and constant companion with them – an alien presence in their lives who turns out to be themselves. Whoever they are now, anyway. And whatever they're becoming.
"Oh, I guess it just didn't pan out /
Guess it's just another heart I broke /
A dream I woke up...."
Knowing who you are plays a major part in giving life a sense or normalcy. As humans, we take comfort and find purpose in having a place to belong and engage, and all of that begins within, at the core of you. Where you choose to be depends on who you are, and why. But if you no longer know HOW you identify, it won't be clear WHERE you identify either. And when you lose your compass, or when your sense of self shifts in dramatic ways, the world can seem to move along, unconcerned and unaffected.
For those who still feel stuck within a religious culture, it's especially difficult to have an identity crisis and not really feel there's room to change or rebuild. Room for a reckoning. Many of us feel at once overwhelmed by expectations and yet isolated or closeted at the same time. We feel as though we haven't had the chance to rediscover ourselves in clinging to the shell of whomever we used to be.
Nevertheless... from ground zero, from square one, from all of the constructs we ever knew being reduced to rubble... we learn how to identify in new ways. And eventually, hopefully, we reconstruct in a way which enables us to recognize ourselves again.
"A TEMPEST IN A TEACUP"
Idiomatic expression with many variants meaning a small event that has been exaggerated, resulting in disproportionate excitement or trouble; an unmeasured reaction of anger, concern, or displeasure over some minor or trivial matter.
OUR FOURTH EPISODE DANCES WITH THE THEMES AND IDEAS OF 'A TEMPEST IN A TEACUP' – THE FOURTH TRACK ON DEREK WEBB'S NEW ALBUM, 'FINGERS CROSSED.'
THE SONG ITSELF ALSO PROVIDES THE ENTIRE MUSICAL AND SONIC BACKDROP TO ANY PHONE CALLS AND CORRESPONDENCE WE ARE FEATURING THIS WEEK.
"...It's an honest to god ironic rebirth / But it’s a tempest in a teacup /
A verdict with no judge / It’s nothing and it’s everything to me."
ABOUT SEASON ONE:
Derek Webb has described his new album, Fingers Crossed, as 'a tale of two divorces.' Our first season of The Airing of Grief Podcast dives into the album track-by-track, with each song providing the themes and musical backdrop for an accompanying episode. Whether you're new to Derek's music or a longtime fan, the topics discussed and the stories of our guests should prove themselves to be a compelling journey for any listener. Wherever you might find yourself on issues of faith or spirituality, there is room at the table for all of these voices to be heard and celebrated. Raw, real, and authentic, The Airing of Grief strives to be a safe place to strip away the pretense and really listen to the heart.