Wednesday, December 7, 2011
The Sleepwalker's Bed: Innocence
As an Evangelical, the virtue I coveted most was Innocence. Innocence wasn't just a characteristic of children and the naive — it was a state to which we aspired, like confidence, or Nirvana. The Innocent had greater faith. Their prayers were answered. They were simpler to love. The Innocent were somehow more complete than the rest of us, their personalities more pure.
Losing your Innocence, particularly as a woman, was a tragedy. To ask questions meant you were cynical. To have experience meant you were broken. Once faith no longer came easy, the only hope you had for living the life God intended for you was to pray earnestly for restoration of a child-like heart.
I wrote "Innocence Lost" while grappling with what it meant to be Innocent. Life happened and I lost my ability to believe without questioning. The community pitied my brokenness, and for a while it was easy to blame myself for becoming less-than instead of removing myself from the people who thought less of me.
Looking back, I think our cult of Innocence stemmed from a fear of the Question.
Paradox was uncomfortable. We protected ourselves from the uncertainty of our doubts by idolizing those who had none. We pitied the doubters so we could forget that we ourselves were just like them.
While worshiping the god of Innocence, I bitterly lamented how experience had made me weak and kept me from being my "truest, purest self." While writing this song, I started to see experience as something that made me stronger and in fact made my life richer.
Our experiences are, in fact, what makes us who we are.
Your love is behind me now
This is what I've bought
A second chance, but with the strength
Of innocence lost