The other night at Christmas Eve dinner at my aunt's place, an interesting discussion arose. At the "kiddie" table, we, aged 19-32, were discussing God and religion and philosophy. One gal said that she wanted to believe in God because she's afraid of death and doesn't want to think that this is the only life we get. She also expressed having a plethora of other fears which she didn't feel she could deal with without God's help. And I got to thinking about why I believed in God.
The most simple reason is that like this gal expressed, I wanted to believe. Granted, the belief in a God was passed along by my mother, but even as an adult, I wanted to believe. Some of it was the desire to escape my own mortality, but most of all as my life began to unravel through my teens and twenties and my health began to decline, I wanted to believe that there was someone out there witnessing my life. Someone taking stock of my pain and suffering. Some cosmic knight in shining armor that would one day rescue me and reward all my labor. But most of all what I was really hoping for, and I would actually dream about this, was for God to explain my life to me.
I envisioned myself after death, speaking to God; the two of us would review the events of my life and he'd explain to me why I'd gotten sick, why life had been so hard for me and why my brain seemed to not function like other people's brains did. I always thought that some explanation would have made all of my suffering worth it, put it into perspective for me. And since God had a master plan and was giving me everlasting life at the end of it all, it wouldn't matter much. I just really wanted to know.
I remember one dream where I was speaking to God and pleading to understand my life and my struggles with my health over the years, and he says to me, "Well, actually, you had a brain tumor, a really small one, and it really interfered with your functioning. The doctors never found it. Sorry 'bout that."
Now, I look back and realize that I probably would've been pretty pissed off with that explanation. "Gee thanks God for looking out for me. I mean all ya had to do was get the doctors to order me a brain scan. Would that have been so hard?"
Of course it all seems quite foolish now, these ideas of God and some master plan. The funny thing is I don't think I could believe anymore even if I wanted to. It's like trying to go back and believe that Santa Claus is real when you've seen your dad putting on the suit. I know differently now. There's no going back.