What do atheists do in the dentist’s chair amid all the grinding and swirling, splishing and splashing of spit? Do they recite the alphabet? The professed atheist finds a lump. What does she do until her mammogram rolls around? Wish and hope? A daughter’s red blood count is perilously low. I don’t believe for an instant that the atheist parent doesn’t pray…on her knees.
I don’t believe in atheism; I don’t believe it exists. I can comprehend agnosticism, doubting. But atheism? No – not in the face of such adversity.
I couldn’t last a moment without God. He wakes me in the morning. He watches over me and mine throughout the day and night. He is my closest confidant, my biggest cheerleader when life runs smoothly, and the broad shoulder onto which I cry when life ends me curves.
One such curvy day the flu kept me flat on my back venturing no further than couch to bed. Extreme tiredness. Of course, all of my dear darlings had also been zapped. Imagine how lovely the mood in the house. Imagine how lovely the house looked! Imagine how if given a one-way ticket to paradise I’d jump aboard. But no golden ticket appeared so I lay there day after day.
The phone rang. It was the nursing home informing me that my mom had fallen, hurting her shoulder. X-rays were being considered. WHAT THE HE##, GOD? And so the very loud, very long rant began straight up to Heaven’s door. On and on and on. Stamping back and forth, slamming doors, kicking any unfortunate obstacles in my warpath. I doubt the eyewitness son knew I had such a colorful vocabulary. I gave it to God with both barrels. And He took it.
As bad as I felt I dressed to visit my mom. She was OK, just a little sore. I related the PG version of my rant to my mom, and at the end of my narrated tirade my mom looked at me and said, “But God didn’t push me.”
91 years old and my mom still knows exactly what to say to put my life into perspective. I am such an idiot! But a very grateful idiot. Grateful to God. Grateful for my mom, grateful for my recovering sickees. Grateful for THIS life – not that other life that I’ll never get – this one with all its warts. Remembering my own father’s advice, things could always get worse. And so they could.
Most of all, I am grateful FOR God – the One who understands me like no other. To whom do atheists show their gratitude? When life blasts them how do they cope without turning to a greater Being to ease their suffering? Despite what he or she may profess, in an atheist’s heart of hearts, there is God.
Copyright 2011 Maureen Locher