A non-Mormon friend recently thanked me for speaking so openly and honestly about my change in religious beliefs. She told me that there are people in every religion who have similar experiences with those who are closed-minded and rigid in their approach to worship and who struggle to continue to believe in God after life's tragedies. This made me think more carefully about my own journey to God and to remember more clearly who I once was and how I have changed.
This is my first Christmas without my mother. Mom died suddenly in mid-September, three months before her 75th birthday. For mom, the holidays were less about Santa than stress. The yuletide anxieties began around Labor Day, when she'd fret about finding the perfect gift, and finding the time to find the perfect gift, and whether she'd bought enough perfect gifts.