My De/Conversion Story 10: Tony in Montana.

I got back to Washington after the new year. It’s the year 2012.

Almost Orthodox.

I knew I was done with the Christianity that I had known and was slowly making my way towards a Faith more Eastern in origin as opposed to Western. But there was another form of Faith that I had looked into a few years before and that was Orthodox Christianity.

One of the resources I used to learn about orthodoxy was from a podcast called “At the Intersection of East and West” at Ancient Faith Ministries.

I found Orthodoxy to be very attractive from their liturgy to their art. They seemed to be so much more unified in their beliefs and that was what was most attractive. The Protestant denominations are too scattered and diverse. They’re like orphaned children who have no idea who their parents are. So, you’ll find varying beliefs and creeds wherever you go.

The Orthodox Church is pre-Catholicism(arguably). They believe their Apostles are the direct successors of the biblical Apostles(also debatable).

I was almost sold on them but after looking into that Faith, there was just one thing that turned me off. What I learned is that they worshiped their icons. It’s not that you’ll see them bowing and prostrating themselves before them but the reverence is quite peculiar.

Some may not readily admit it but the truth is that they have images of saints and it is believed that the spirit of those saints are captured in the images. This is one reason you will see them kissing the images/icons.

For me, it was a direct violation of the first commandment and I just couldn’t compromise that even though I admired that religion.

Getting on in life.

I got a job two weeks after my return and to date I haven’t stopped working. That job was in retail in a large store and I never did good in that kind of work environment. So, a month later I got a job at a rehab center doing what I did when I worked at the hospital. I was once again, a Dietary Aide.

My plan was to hopefully move into a Cook’s position which I did accomplish. One year later, I applied for a Aide position at another rehab center and was hired as a Cook with no experience.

But something bad happened in that time period.

She was the last.

I was in my Bible again and growing more solid in my new understandings of Scripture. I was really starting to bridge the gap between the two halves of the bible.

The New Testament wasn’t new and the Old Testament wasn’t old. It was a continuation. Matthew was picking up where Malachi left off.

Christianity treats it like the end of one thing and the beginning of another and for the sake of argument I do understand why.

But while I was a Dietary Aide at the first rehab center, I met a woman a few years older than me. She was a CNA. I wasn’t looking for women. I tried to be intentional about focusing on what I needed to be doing but my weakness was easily exploited. I was powerless at any pretty women showing me just a little attention.

We hung out outside of work one day and that same day slept together. Not long after, we were living together at her place. It wasn’t supposed to happen.

We even talked about God together. Her father started a gang in his day back in Pennsylvania and later became deeply religious as she and her siblings were growing up. So, I thought she knew the Christian lifestyle.

We started out wrong.

I was so naive. I couldn’t see that she wasn’t the one for me. I was hoping she would be my partner and we would grow in God together.

I should’ve kept it in my pants. Sex ruins everything.

I didn’t take time to get to know her and see if we were really compatible. I was thinking with the wrong head. I was in my early 30s and was still immature in dealing with women.

I think she told me I was in love with the idea of having a relationship but wasn’t really ready for one. My first wife told me I wasn’t a man and both of them were right.

I even tried reading the bible and praying together with this woman and we did off and on but it was so hypocritical the way were living.

We both drank and got high together. I learned later during a social gathering that she did coke. That was a turn-off for me and a point of contention.

My demons ruined everything.

I thought I was okay enough to get into a relationship. I had no idea that all I did was sweep my issues under the rug. I found out that I was super insecure and jealous. I didn’t want other guys talking to her even if she knew them before me.

I found faults in her when I should’ve let her be herself. I didn’t trust her while we played house. I didn’t even want to get a joint account even though we shared bills and were ideally supposed to be building together.

I learned that no good can come from trying to protect yourself from someone who wasn’t trying to hurt you. That person always gets hurt. She was yet another good woman that I drove away despite her flaws.

We separated and got back together a couple times but I was possessive. I wanted her to be what I wanted her to be. I wanted us to have God in our relationship. But we just saw God differently or she didn’t have the same kind of heart for God that I did.

She was over me but I wasn’t over her. I remember coming to her apartment and seeing another man in her bed through the window. I couldn’t do anything about it but pout and whine to her about it.

But the last straw came when one night she didn’t answer my calls. The jealous side of me told me she was with another guy. So, I waited outside her place till she came home. It was after 1am when a car rolls up and she gets out with two other guys headed to the front door.

I come out and confront her with them. I had some alcohol in me but well aware of what could happen. She dealt with people from the streets and I was accustomed to that persuasion myself. Nothing popped off but they ended up leaving.

She and I got into it. It was bad. That’s when I saw how much of my inner issues were never dealt with. If not with her, it would’ve happened with someone else. So, in a twisted way, I’m glad it happened with her because it basically ended with her.

I had to leave town.

How could I have sunk so deep? How can I be someone who was so godly and such a demon at the same time? I was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I was in the eyes of people, charming. And underneath, I was menacing.

I just couldn’t understand why I was like this. How come no amount of prayer and reading and repenting could change who I was on the inside? Its like my spirituality only suppressed what my real issues were. It seemed that God couldn’t reach these parts of me. Its like I had triggers.

Back then, I was tracing all my problems to women like if I’d have kept my attention on God, I wouldn’t have these problems. I even thought of becoming a monk. I didn’t care if it was a Christian monastery or Buddhist, I needed to be alone and far from women.

But at some point, I did start to realize that it must have something to do with childhood issues.

I quit my job abruptly and jumped in my car ready to walk away from everything like I’d fantasized about doing for a long time. I headed east debating on whether I should go try to be with my sons again or start somewhere new.

Either way, it was time to make a decision once I got to Montana.

What about you?

It’s not too uncommon to hear of people reaching a breaking point. Where they just either crack or snap. For some, it lead to freedom and for others, it lead to some form of bondage and imprisonment.

I wonder what happened to you after you reached your breaking point. Where did you go and what did you do about it? Who or what was your help?

Come participate with me in the comment section. I’d be happy to hear from you. Also, do subscribe and share. Much thanks.

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