I don't believe in God. At least not in the traditional "there is one higher power that sees all" kind of way. And if I did believe in a God, I wouldn't believe that God had a sex, that it would be a He or a She.
I do believe that Chaos affects our lives more than any other force, and that events in our life are not preordained. However, I believe there are things beyond my understanding, that there are forces of positivity and negativity that are too complex for me even to imagine. I believe some things happen that are beyond rational explanation. I think we have something like a soul, or a spirit, or an energy that has it's own force, although I do not know what that force is. It's that word "spirituality," that can be defined so broadly by so many different people that it is impossible to pin down. I also think that it borders on arrogance to think that we know what lies beyond. I mean how can Christians be more right than Buddhists? Or Buddhists more right than Muslims? But that's an entire conversation on its own.
Oddly enough, I believe in the power of, for want of a better word, prayer. Because I believe that the mind has great power, and if we can see a crack of light in the distance, we can be carried a very long way on those rays of light. I just don't believe, that if we pray hard enough, God will grant us our wishes.
I am often aware of the tininess of my existence. I feel like I am a minute cell in the workings of an infinite universe, a universe that is so large I cannot possibly step back and pretend to understand it, and its inner workings. Much like the cells in my own body, which merrily carry on with their duties, having no idea of their impact. And yet, as insignificant as I know I am, I take great comfort in the miraculousness of my own life. I feel that the fact that I can put one foot in front of the other, that I can put words on a page, is as difficult to comprehend as infinity.
I am deeply saddened by what is happening to Cancer Baby. If you haven't read her previous posts, please do it now. She is an amazing person and writer whose life is getting stolen from her by ovarian cancer.
Now, as I am experiencing the pending death, from cancer, of my very dear mother-in-law, I have been thinking a lot about my own spirituality. I know my mother-in-law wishes that I believed in God the way that she does. But I don't. However, I did share a story with her this weekend that was told to me by a good friend when my mother-in-law was diagnosed several months ago. That friend is one of the few people I know that read my blog - so I must apologize in advance to her for any details of the story that I get wrong. I hope I can communicate the essence of it.
My friend L lost her very best friend from childhood, Ann, to lung cancer, about five years ago. Ann was in her mid to late thirties, and had two very small children. She had never smoked. Ann fought for as long as she could, but it became evident, eventually, that this was not a battle she was going to win. A couple of weeks before Ann died, L went down to southern California to spend some time with her. She stayed at a nearby hotel so as not to be a burden. Some time during that trip Ann told her husband that when she was not there anymore, she was going to let her husband know that she was okay, that it was going to be okay. Her husband teased her, as he is a very pragmatic, non-religious man. He said, laughingly, something along the lines of "Alright, but don't pull any of that touchy feel crap, because I don't believe in it anyways, and it will just give me the creeps." His wife replied, "No, I will do something just for you, something that only you will understand."
Soon afterward, Ann died. Her time of death was 7:37pm. Her husband is an avid motorcyclist and he decided to have the memorial down the coast, about 45 minutes from their house, so he and his friends could ride their bikes down there together. He decided he should drive the car to the memorial site a couple of days before the service so that he could clock the exact mileage for the bikers. When he got in the car, the clock had stopped at 7:37pm.
When does your car clock ever stop, I ask you? Mine never has. Such a coincidence seems very hard to fathom. It seems much more likely that something happened there that we just cannot understand. Later, when Ann's husband told her friend L the story, she remembered that her hotel room number had been 737 while she was there for her visit. Say what you will, but it sends a shiver down my spine.
So I told this story to my mother-in-law, and I asked her to send us a message, when she is no longer here, that everything is okay. I told her I would tell her grandson about it, so that he can always have that story with him. She loved L's story and she said she would try. I don't know if it will happen or not, but I wish for it. And I wish it for those that love Cancer Baby, too.