I just have to post this. I attended a newbie night with the Minnesota Skeptics last night. It was fantastic. I'm trying to remedy the fact that my social network has shriveled considerably and I simply find life pretty lonely at times. I still have great friends who are believers, but it's quite difficult when you think about religion and god a vast majority of the time, but can't share those thoughts for fear of offending others.
I've been trying to branch out to groups like the MN Skeptics and the Minnesota Atheists to find companions who are open-minded and receptive to my venting and sharing about my situation. This phase is taxing to both my wife and I, but I think she's far more well-supported considering she still shares common belief with everyone and is still in her weekly-meeting couple's group (which I was asked to depart from). I don't have such types of support, and would also add that the support she receives is much more "empathetic" (I'm so sorry you're enduring this, god has a plan, we're here for you, etc.) while mine tends to be primarily focused on accountability/challenging (remember -- you're still obligated to be a good husband, are you reading the right stuff?, how are you caring for your wife?, you do realize this is really hard on your wife, right?, why don't you want to raise your kids believers?, etc.). This can be taxing.
So, I'm at this meeting last night at a cafe, and the meetup organizers were introducing the group, what it's about, an intro to skepticism/rationality/critical-thinking, etc., and then had everyone introduce themselves. I shared a bit about my history and also mentioned the name of the outreach group I used to be affiliated with, Saint Paul's Outreach, as well as the lay-community of Catholic Families that I made a life-long commitment to, Community of Christ the Redeemer. This was actually a bit atypical; I hardly ever actually mention the names, at least online, but I guess since it was a local face-to-face meeting I did.
Guess what happened next? One of the organizers pipes in and says that he used to belong to both groups! What are the chances of that? Were I still a believer and ran into a former member of these groups (assuming he was still a believer, too) in such a small group, my heart would have warmed at the thought of how crazily "providential" such an occurrence was.
I felt compelled to mention this event because many still find it extremely difficult to dismiss apparent "miracles" or "acts of divine providence" when it comes to the possibility that god might not be real. This is just one example of how such things continue on. Unlikely things still happen... just not as often as, well, likely things. Because such events are out of the ordinary, we feel compelled to find a "why" behind the "what."
I don't think this is necessary any longer. The world is not revolving around you or I, and that's okay. Acts of "providence" (the atheistic kind) still happen to me (the event above is not the only time something like this has happened post-deconversion). Perhaps we simply see only what we look for.