Okay, so I lied. I did start the blog with an explanation of what the blog is about. But not really; because it was by no means comprehensive. So there.
I have recently come to terms with two very big things.
- There is probably no God; and
- I'm okay with that.
A year ago I would have never admitted that I had doubts about God's existence. Oh, the doubts have been there for much more than a year; but a human who needs comfort and solace can cling fiercely to denial. See, my dad died when I was 10 years old. I needed to believe I would see him again. In heaven. But now I wonder whether I really needed to believe that, or if I only clung to that hope because I was taught to do so.
Rather than go into a manifesto about how I came to disbelieve (don't worry; I'm sure that will come later), tonight I want to write about an incident that happened to me yesterday.
My 12 year old daughter (also atheist) and I were returning from a trip to the grocery, and I needed to make a stop at the liquor store to pick up a bottle of wine for dinner. It started to rain pretty hard for a while, but slacked off as we pulled into the parking lot. As I turned off the car, I glanced out the windsheild to see an obviously injured, soaking wet little gray mouse, hobbling and struggling to get off the pavement, onto the grassy median beside the parking space. It was heartbreaking to watch him climb the little concrete slope, only to slide backward because he had no use of one of his back legs. My daughter asked if we should help him, and I told her that there was really nothing we could do; even if he got onto the grass, that leg of his was not going to heal. She decided to wait in the car and listen to her iPod while I ran in and quickly picked up the wine.
When I returned to the car, there was an SUV parked in front of me. I could tell by the look on my daughter's face what had happened.
I asked her whether what I thought had happened, had happened. She said yes, with a tear rolling down her cheek. I explained to her that it was really for the best; that the little mouse was not going to get any better. He was going to be in pain and struggling until a predatory bird, or a cat, or some other carnivorous animal got him. Or else he would starve to death, because he could not move around well enough to get food. Being hit by the SUV was the quickest, most humane death the little guy could have asked for. Now he isn't in pain anymore.
My point here is that I did not have to make up a story about the mouse being in mousey heaven, or in "a better place," or "with Jesus" to give my child some comfort about the situation. Sure, she was still sad about the mouse getting squished, but she was able to accept that it is part of the life cycle; it is the way the world works. And she accepted it within the bounds of reality; not based on some superstition that she would later grow to doubt and feel deceived about.
I have now accepted the idea that I will never see my father again. He is not waiting in heaven for me. He is gone. All I have are my memories, which are wonderful and beautiful. He was a funny, talented, brilliant, kind, loving man. And that will have to be enough.