I received today a truly wonderful email from a very kind woman with whom I had previously corresponded.
In it she talked about this being the year of Christian/Jewish Restoration, and about how we were both due, and about how “I know you don’t like God all that much…”
And she included a video to a beautiful Christian song, and words that she hoped would help bring me back to God.
I like her. I thought her letter was sent in a wonderful spirit of caring and compassion from a genuine, kind, and beautiful person to whom I matter.
And I sent her the best letter I was capable of writing.
I’m not posting her letter here because it was for me alone.
I’m posting my reply to her because this is something I need to say to the folks who are worried about me, my soul, my faith, my relationship with God… and I know there are a few of you who read me who are. From time to time you let me know.
It isn’t that I don’t like God very much.
I am incapable of belief. I tried. I spent all of my youth and some of my adulthood trying to believe in God in any form, and in religion in any form, and I simply don’t, and can’t.
I’m not an angry atheist, I’m not declaring God evil or dead or wrong, or the people who believe in God evil or vile or wrong.
I’m simply a person with a complete inability to ignore reality in favor of things people belief that fly in the face of reality. I am incapable of faith.
What I know of life and can prove is that what we have in this world is this moment and each other. While I would like to think there is something after death, and while I know that energy cannot be destroyed, I don’t believe that I will continue after death as myself. Wish it. Don’t believe it.
But in life, we have now, and we have our own brief existences,** and we have the people who matter to us. I have spent my life since I figured that out working to leave something important behind for the people who matter to me. My family, my writers, and my readers.
And I very much like the idea of a year of restoration. I’m due. So if you don’t mind hanging out with an atheist, I’ll be very happy to celebrate the year of restoration with you.
I am mindful daily of the life I am living, and I am living the best, most honest, and most creative and worthwhile life I am capable of living.
I choose my actions with care. I work daily to make not just my own life but the lives of the people who matter to me better.
I do this because I love my own life, and I want to help other folks find ways to love theirs.
And that’s it.
When I’m gone, I’ll be gone. If I’ve succeeded at the job I’ve chosen, the work I’ve started will spread out in ripples, and some small part of life and existence far into the future will be better because I once lived.
I think that’s enough.
*Kate is my fill-in name for folks I want to keep anonymous. Not a real Kate.
**Added in this version, but not the original letter.