When someone says your story "makes them feel sad."

It made us sad, too!

From time to time, when someone in the fold of white evangelicalism (or at least sympathetic to it) stumbles upon a post online about deconstruction, or someone losing their faith, they reply by saying it “makes them feel so sad.”

It made us feel sad, too. It happened to us, after all. It’s our stories you’re responding to, and it’s us you’re replying to publicly on the internet or in our DMs.

But why does it make you feel sad? Does it make you sad that so many people have experienced traumas in religious contexts & environments, or does it make you sad that we can’t simply “get over it” and sing kumbaya? Does it make you sad that things are more peaceful beyond the gates of evangelicalism than within them?

Maybe it’s a little of all those things. But it leaves the people who receive these messages in a hard spot, feeling responsible for your reaction to our story.

I still don’t know how to feel when someone says this to me personally, and the only type of response I can muster is what I’ve already said above, or the type of non-apology that is offered when you say “I’m sorry you feel that way” in the midst of an argument when you can’t yet admit your feelings.

Our stories include sadness. That’s ok. They also include triumph and celebration and remembrance of it all.