The title of this post is a line in a song I heard in the weeks since Allyen got sick. It struck me.
I haven’t actually had a conversation with the God I don’t believe in. I also have not prayed to that God. I always stop myself. I find myself talking to Allyen directly in my head, or aloud when I’m alone. There is no God that can translate or relay my messages to Allyen. I feel I must carry that message to him myself. When he was unconscious and now when he’s conscious.
Being comfortable with no God
I reconciled the absence of a God a very long time ago. Why am I an atheist?
- 10 years of work in child welfare and indigent healthcare
- I believe that if religion did not exist fewer peoples of the world would be at war
- I believe that religion is a way for human-kind to explain the as-of-now unexplainable
So, in a health crisis such as Allyen’s, what is an atheist to do? I feel an energy and spirituality that propels itself through me to him. Early on, I felt as if I could touch him and push my energy into him. If I parted with part of me, that might help him.
The real question is who do you talk to in your head during such a crisis when you are alone? In those moments when I’m alone driving in the car, after putting the children to bed, staring at myself in the mirror in the bathroom, to whom do I speak to with all the emotions and worries I carry around with me all the day long?
It’s a little lonely even though I’ve spent many days and evenings with other people. I know I’m not really alone. My friends and family are there for me. So, I don’t feel a need for a God I don’t know or believe in to satisfy my security requirements.
About decision making
Not believing in a God makes my inner monologue a different conversation than what someone might have with their God. But, beyond the monologue, it’s also a question of decision-making.
Early on, I found myself faced with many decisions. Some were pretty easy, others very difficult. At every decision, I caught myself thinking: “Allyen & I need to talk about that.” I couldn’t have the decision conversation with him or the God I don’t believe in, so I would have to make the decision myself.
Over the weeks I’ve become more comfortable making decisions and moving things forward. But, once Allyen was able to participate in conversation and decisions, I went right back to the collaborative decision-making.
On one thing we collaboratively agree: God is not responsible for the events of the past 77 days. There is some luck involved to be sure:
- I found him on the kitchen floor within 2 minutes of his collapse
- A new level 1 trauma center opened just 5 minutes from our home 2 years ago
- The clot hit him at 6:15 am, not an hour later when he would have been driving us to the mountains to ski
Then there was the skill of the medical team. They figured it out very quickly and used some amazing new advances in treatment that we believe saved his memory and cognitive ability.
Finally, there was his will to return to me and our children, and our will to bring him back to us. I don’t know that our children can articulate this, but I know they have felt it.
Now that he is in rehab, it’s up to him to do the hard work. Every bit of effort turns to good, visible improvements. We can encourage, support and give strength, but it’s in his hands to realize his future.
Back to the God thing
Once he was awake and able to communicate, I began letting Allyen answer the many questions from caregivers. They always inquire about religious preferences. His answer has consistently been unaffiliated. He’s never thought of himself as an atheist. I think he’d say he’s undecided.
I think I’ll continue talking to Allyen in my inner monologue rather than a God I don’t believe in. It’s proving to be far more satisfying.