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For the last two years, I have been struggling with my own “crisis of faith.” I am still wading through the morass of doubt and fear that accompanies such a struggle, but have found comfort in attempting to gain knowledge. I have encountered information that has thrown me into the rapids of frustration and anger, that has lifted me to the summits of enlightenment, and that left me in the haze of confusion. In my floundering efforts to deal with all of this information, I have sometimes felt the need to vent, as we all do. However, I have been sensitive to the need for discretion.

I remember distinctly the conversation that perhaps sent me on this rollercoaster ride, which was prefaced by the words, “I don’t want to infect anyone else.” In my youthful arrogance, I decided there was nothing that could be said that I couldn’t find a way to deal with, and so pressed onward. Two years later, I have been through disbelief, doubt, and denial, and finally come to a place where I am ready to face the difficult task of plowing through “truth” while honing my skills of discernment.

In one of my more agitated moments in this journey, I started spouting venom at an innocent victim, and afterwards felt very guilty for it. Shortly after, I came across the New Testament scripture Matt. 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. I was struck by the implication of those words and especially the timing wherein I encountered them.

So, I’ve been more aware of filters and how we decide what information to share or not share. The same story might be told three different ways with varying degrees of detail depending on the audience. How do we internally designate appropriate information to be disseminated?

I am finding that I am more aware of the compartmentalizing of my life more than I was before. I’ve been able to be more open and honest with myself, but I am less open with family and friends. There are parts of my life that I do not share with those that are close to me because I don’t want to damage their worldview. Do I protect the ones I love from potentially damaging information, even if it is true information, or do I share my new found knowledge because I love them?

Zenaida is the genus of the mourning dove, and Viperidae is the family of venomous snakes known as vipers. So in taking this name, I hope to remind myself of the power of knowledge and its wise use.