It was important to me, especially during a particular period of time, to call myself an atheist, even though I never said it quite that bluntly. It was in that time after I left both the ministry in which I had served 25 years, and my first marriage of 28 years. My dear friend Greta says the atheism didn't surprise her at all, that she knew that was something natural for me to go through. Am I through it? Not really. May never be. But I don't call myself an atheist anymore either.
We are just beginning to understand, if that's even the right word, the energy that connects us all with each other and with the cosmos. We are all of one piece, one thread. And despite the ways in which human beings divide themselves from each other, either because of religion or nationality or sexual identity, despite the ways in which this world seems at times to be at the brink of disaster, I still believe that the world is a good place and that people are by nature good.
Life may not survive on this planet. We may blow ourselves up before life gets to run its full course here, but life will continue to happen somewhere, even if not here. We could not be that privileged. Life emerges when conditions are right, and it emerges anywhere those conditions exist. Life is not given from the outside, but emerges from the inside, from the cellular structure of all things.
In that sense, there truly is no god, someone outside of us, managing, or blessing, or blaming anyone. The generating energy of this universe comes from within, not from anything outside of us. It is not granted or taken away from us because of what we believe, or don't believe. It is an integral part of every cell that is in us.
In that sense, we are god. But if we ever, and it is so easy to do, if we ever let that go to our heads, then we are doomed. There always has to remain the attitude of thankfulness, that the life you and I have is pure gift. There is not a thing that either you nor I did to be born, or to be given this life. Afterlife? I don't know. I don't think so. But even without, this is the one life we have been given, and we need to live it with all the passion and excitement and commitment and service that we can.
As I sat outside tonight, in the clear, crisp air of my mountain home, I counted the many blessings of my life.
My life is gift. My wife and I are enjoying living and owning property in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I am retired. I have resumed my lifelong passion of photography - and writing - and I can even feel the draw to resurrect my clock driven 10 inch reflecting telescope out of moth balls. Life is just busting wide open for me right now. I finally, finally, have the time, if I use it well, to put my life together in ways that are rewarding and serving. I served my cats in the fence I built today. As with most projects, when they are done, I have a hard time not just sitting and looking at them. And I did that tonight.
That completed fence brought more tears than I have cried in a long, long time, and they were tears of gratefulness.
You know what I want to do. I want to eliminate steps and rough ground between the house and the frame shop. With Cap, we just purchased a rolling chair for him. In just the last several days, we have gone out more with Cap than ever before. We all went to New Year's Eve breakfast and had a marvelous time.
I want that distance between the house and the frame shop smooth, and I want in the Spring, when the weather turns warmer, to roll my second father on a regular basis out to the frame shop, where I can work and we can talk and I can seek his advice. Life is good. Joyce and I recently have seen the movies "Milk" and "Doubt." It doesn't get any better than that. Great movies!!!
May be a strange way to end a journal post that started out talking about atheism, but wherever you or I are in our lives, whatever we may believe, may we continue to celebrate life, to see good movies, to read good books, to be with friends, and to serve others.