I wondered about my place in the world all my life. I was a nature girl, a searcher for Truth in the universe, so I went to Alaska and lived in the wilderness. Rafted wild rivers, treked the Brooks Range, flew to remote places to – BE. I yearned to surrender to Nature, becoming One with cosmic reality.
My mother was Catholic, my dad Protestant. We never went to church (except Midnight Mass, once). My early knowledge of God was that “Jesus is the Son of God,” and I thought that was bunk. As I learned about biology, I knew it was impossible for cells to just divide without eggs and sperm, so the Virgin Mary and all that was a stupid, pathetic lie. I immersed myself in the holy mystery of evolved Life: primordial soup to protozoa, to tube worm, to dinosaur, to marmot, to me. All One.
Obressive, patriarchal, organized religion: an evil, mindless even frightening affront to supress the truth of human existence. We are all enlightened beings struggling to break free from the lies of the past and embrace our evolutionary goal of Oneness with the universe. The only problem was, do we fit in? One nature group’s motto is “Not Man Apart.” But, we are apart from nature… Stuck.
Drugs provided an answer, but the effect was short lived. One day with a group of teens in the mountains, I witnessed The Perfection of Snow: Perfect, Sublime, One, Holy. I was suddenly aware of my body in the midst of perfection. I didn’t belong. I wanted to embrace the cold, and yet I wanted to hide under my snowsuit, then a blanket. Hide from the others. Driving home on that mountain road, snowbanks to either side and perfect beauty beyond, all the kids could think about was not plowing into the banks on the icy road. They don’t understand. We are perfect — yet not.
When my mom was dying, all I could say was, “if there is an afterlife, I’ll be there is a split second, in the whole cosmic scheme of things.” She died and I was alone.
I gave up the old ways and years later got a job, got married and had a child, then ran a daycare. Domestic monotany, and somehow, I knew that by giving to others (sacrifice) I would overcome myself. What did my life matter anyway, in the universe. Inside, I knew it was the only thing that could save my marriage.
12 years after Mom’s death, a cousin called out of the blue to tell me a meesage from my mother. “Oh my God, don’t go there,” I thought. I sat down. “Your mother came to me in a vision, and she wants you to know…” My head was spinning…”Beautiful, radiant, loves you and the baby, watches over, etc. ” I thanked her for the nice message and hung up.
I never thought about an afterlife before. Never believed in it. Impossible – reality is enough, I don’t need to believe in a God or heaven or any other fantasies. I am strong and can take the truth well enough.
I walked down the street to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church to go to Mass. What? Why? What are you doing? My biologist husband was puzzled, outraged, confused. Yet I did go. Never went to chruch before, and didn’t know when to sit, kneel, stand, etc. “Peace to His people on earth” was sung – “yeah, right.”
The priest was no-nonsense and said, “Every new Catholic I meet has someone who has been praying for them in Heaven.” Really.
I took down the huge old dusty family bible off my closet shlef. When I was a kid, I would occasionally look at the old colored pictures of the paintings of bible people and saints, I guess. I started reading the gospels, starting at the beginning, Matthew, I guess. Jesus words in red – why? Begotten, miracles, healings, disciples (dropped everything!), prayer, cross, death, ressurection. Maybe? Who was Jesus, anyway? Who wrote this?
What inspired people to paint these pictures? 2000 years… maybe its true? Maybe God became one of us?
Tears for three weeks. I can’t beilieve it’s all true. Husabnd ready for divorce. Scared of this. “Don’t bring that book in our house!” I threw the bible at him and broke the binding. What’s happening to my wife?
Christmas vigil mass, three weeks later. I believe now that God became one of us. Can’t stop weeping. In back of church, still don’t know when to sit/stand/kneel. But I know God is real. My heart feels like it is on fire, I know He’s there inside. Midgight mass – I say a silent prayer: “Lord Jesus, I know you’re there, but Mom, are you there too?” The Holy Spirit answers me like lightening in my heart. yes. I am here. Invisable FIRE inside. Mom is here. THIS is where you belong. I LOVE YOU. One.
I go home at 2:00 a.m. to my snoring atheist husband. Holy Spirit is a lightening bolt from my heart to Heaven. It is all real, TRUTH. Oh God, I can’t live with this man! You have to show yourself to him. I didn’t know any Christians, so I knock on the rectory door. I need help to understand. Sister says, “yes, Jesus is God.”
Do you KNOW what you are saying!!! Jesus IS God! He really is. Oh, MY GOD, it is all true. Sister explains in calculated facts. I am sobbing. You don’t know how long I have been searching! Where I’ve gone to find this.
Sister says, pray for your husband, don’t talk to him. But I can’t. I scream: “Get down on your KNEES and thank God there Is a God!!!” What do you think – I’m NOT making this up. You know me! He says “well, THAT won’t work.” Please, just READ it.
One month later, he does. “Well, I guess I believe it.” I say “What do you mean, you GUESS you do, its either true or not!” His journey to God was much subtler than mine, but now he’s the Liturgist at that church!
Athiests are sure there is no God, because they don’t have proof. I don’t know why God wants us to “leap” into faith, but that’s the way he set it up. But as a former bonafide atheist, yet seeker, I now have PROOF. The proof comes AFTER you believe. It is everything you have ever searched for and so much more. That’s the mystery of Jesus Christ, God the Son, our Maker.
But in the end, we are One. In the One who became One with us. Because He loves us. Give yourself up, for Love.
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