I don’t think critically about my intersection with faith.
I scarcely spare a thought on the definitives of how and why we were blinked into existence, having long since concluded that the “how” is beyond my knowing, and the “why” is ultimately immaterial.
This never struck me as unusual until a close friend of mine, perhaps two years ago, engaged me in a discussion about religion. It was a conversation of curiosity, initiated when she asked where my husband and I go to church.
I said, delicately, that I’m not a member of a church. That I sometimes attend Catholic Mass with my family, but that I’m an atheist.
The look on her face was one of incomprehension.
But where do you think we came from?
“Well,” I replied, “I don’t.”
You don’t what?
“I just… don’t. I don’t think. I wonder, from time to time, but it’s an idle, vague curiosity about a thing I can’t possibly know. So, I don’t think.”
My words were somehow unfathomable to her, as someone who speaks words of praise and gives thanks to the day her Lord has made. That I could bask in the beauty of a sunrise without feeling distinctly thankful to a creator, that I could marvel at the complexity of a starry sky without the knowledge of how it was made. That I could be thankful and joyful and overcome with emotion at a world for which I had no explanation.
As though my lack of explanation would mute my sense of wonder.
How could it?
In the months after, I thought of this encounter often, and even now I reflect on it with affection. It was a tiny glimpse behind the curtain for both of us, peeking into each other and ourselves.