The following is part of my series on atheism and faith.
Where is God in the world?
…and if I don’t experience God, does that mean he’s not there?
I have no functional memory of my parents for the first three years of my life. But I’m sure wasn’t an orphan.
My earliest memory is vague and clouded. I see my mother opening a hallway closet in the house I lived in until I was three. She hands me a flute. That’s it. I have no memory of my father living there, or of my three siblings in that house. I don’t remember my bedroom or the kitchen. All I have is the fleeting memory of a flute. But I’m sure wasn’t an orphan.
It’s a medical mystery why we don’t remember our earliest years. It’s sad because I’m sure yours and mine were full of wonder and love. And it makes me sad when my own children say they don’t remember their early years with me–saved but from the pictures and videos. But I remember, and they were magical. You were not orphans.
I’m experiencing those magical days once more with grand-babies. And yet, I know that if I died tomorrow, they wouldn’t remember me. I’d merely be something like the memory of a flute.
I believe God exists.
Like a phantom in the hallway.
Like one who brushes our cheeks while we sleep.
Like the still small voice whispering words to toddlers who think they can do it “all by myself.”
And he’s waiting for that fleeting and life-changing moment when each of us realizes we were never orphans.
To a child, remembering begins sometime after age three. To a child of God, that awakening can come at any time, even beyond it. God’s love is unconstrained by our mere mortality.