Saturday, July 12, 2008

Something I Wonder About

Breakfast with a good friend this morning.

"So what," she asked, "is different for you than things were several years ago?"

"We were just talking about that at CPE yesterday," I said. "About what it's like to live in the context of a universe in which everything is permeated by God. Recognizing God's presence in everything."

"Well," she said, "I'm an atheist."

"Then you probably don't sense that God permeates everything?" I responded.

"No, not exactly," she laughed.

And then we spent an hour talking about death and end-of-life decisions and death and bodies and death and hospital care and death, because that's all I really talk about this summer. (I guess I'm really fun to be around.)

She talked about how difficult it was to be present for the death of a beloved family member. I talked about how I try to convey to tearful and anguished people that it's hard to think of a more important thing to do than to witness and be present to your loved ones as they move from this world to the other one.

The way I see it, the Holy Spirit was hanging out with us at the table on the sun-filled (and exceedingly warm) patio outside the bakery.

Not what my friend was experiencing at all. Except, in my view of things, she was.

Life is puzzling, I think.


Kathryn said...

I wonder if your friend would be offended by your statement about her experience. We can't help but project our reality on someone else's experience but often this can lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding.

It sounds as if CPE is permeating your life, your conversations, everything. I wish we could go for a walk this July but the boys are headed your way without me this year - I'll be in the library.

Jan said...

CPE sounds more amazing than I expected. I've always heard how stressful it is, but you describe it being a thin place.

I am interested in your conversation, esp. as my eldest daughter is an atheist and we do not discuss spiritual things.

Katherine E. said...

Puzzling. Yes it is. And beautiful at times, too, as is your post.

emmapeelDallas said...

I'm not an atheist, but I AM a cheerful agnostic, and I agree with you that one of the most important things we can do (& I confess I've never done it, but not because I wouldn't have) is to be present with a loved one as they pass from this life into whatever awaits us on the other side.


Anonymous said...

You were there and the Holy Spirit was there also. Being able to easliy share experiences with one who professes a theism is a gift.

I look to your blog with anticipation and regularly check for new thoughts and experiences from you.

Walking behind you in cyber space has given me much inspiration and joy.

Thank you,
Your admiring Methodist compatriot across the county

Quotidian Grace said...

There's an award for you at my place!

mompriest said...

I've given you an award, it's over on my blog...

Yes, the Holy Spirit was present and she works in myserious ways, I bet your friend is going to think about that conversation a lot...