I seem to be in a time of not being sure whether or not I believe in God right now. It’s not like I’m ever perfectly certain about God, but at the moment, I’m feeling particularly disconnected from God. Perhaps some of you who have read FALLING TO HEAVEN have already figured out that the character closest to describing who I am is Emma, the perpetual doubter and skeptic.
I like having her in the story, because she gives voice to so many of the things that we “faithful” types often feel, but perhaps try to hide. Readers have told me that she also makes the book much more universal, because atheists can read it and not feel alienated by all the religious content. Emma doesn’t just doubt, she gives God a good drubbing on many occasions, along with a piece of her mind.
I’m not really feeling like a drubbing is in order, I just don’t feel connected to God right now. And as I’ve been dealing with some personal challenges lately, a few people have asked whether I’d like to try to connect with God more closely. But how, with my doubting mind?
It’s when I feel like this that I sometimes go back to the Serenity Prayer from AA: (God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. This prayer it reminds me of the simplest way I’ve defined God in my mind — the most bare bones concept of God I’ve got. God is the first phrase of that prayer: “the things I cannot change” (the ones I must accept). And that’s a lot of things! There is an elegance to this explanation that satisfies my scientifically-trained mind, reminds me of my place in the world, and sets me on a simple path toward acceptance. That makes me feel oddly . . . connected.