(For regular readers … I’m taking a break from my break because, well, you’ll see in a minute.)
Each night before I sink into my most comfortable sleeping position and pull the covers up to my chin, I look outside the window above my bed at the night sky. If it’s not foggy or overcast, I can see a fairly decent swath of stars among the pine trees. (Stars are very special to me, as you can tell if you look closely at my avatar.) On the nights when they’re hidden, I know they’re still there so I just use a little imagination.
Anyway, along with this visual sweep of the night sky, I also say a few words of thanks. Who am I thanking? I don’t know. Certainly not “God.” I guess maybe that Universal Presence that I talk about in my book. Anyway, I start out by expressing my appreciation for “life” … for simply being part of this magnificent universe. Then I add how thankful I am for my health (which, BTW, is very good. Thankfully. ).
Next, I express gratitude for my home. Not that it’s anything special, but it’s home. It’s a place that protects me from the elements and where I feel safe.
After that, I extend my appreciation for my overall happiness in life. No, my life is not perfect. I experience many of the same trials and tribulations as others, but overall I feel a peace and a general sense of well-being.
And last, I offer thanks for my little dog (Miniature Schnauzer) who brings me so much joy and happiness. Now for some, this may not be a big deal. But from the moment I laid eyes on her at the shelter, I felt a deep-down connection with this little mutt. And this feeling has grown even deeper after her injury last summer when she slipped and fell and severely injured her spine. She was unable to stand or walk at all and we wondered if she would ever return to normal. Without going into extensive detail, suffice it to say she was seen by two neurologists and the prognosis was that with time, physical therapy, lots of love and TLC, she had a 85-90% chance of walking again. I took on the challenge and guess what! She recovered! Well … to a point. She’s crippled because her left side doesn’t work as it should, but she gets around. And her spirit is still as bright as ever and her tail wags just as fiercely!
Anyway, I’m telling you all this to share what happened a few nights ago.
I don’t recall what point I was in offering my nightly words of gratitude, but suddenly a very strong (and very unwelcome) thought pushed itself into my thoughts. WHAT IF … there really is a “God” and because I no longer believe in “him,” I might be destined for HELL!
Let me tell you. My chest seized up and my heart skipped a beat.
Yes, I know. I wrote about the non-existence of hell and eternal punishment in my book … and I’ve “preached” against it on several blogs. But the several years of BRAINWASHING while I was in church apparently is still roaming around in my amygdala. Even though I’ve been AWAY from it for over 20 years!
Fortunately, the thought only lasted a couple of seconds and I quickly regained my senses. Whew!
As I considered sharing this experience on my blog, I hesitated. I thought … what if I’m stirring up a hornet’s nest? The true-blue Christians will be coming out of the woodwork to tell me it was a MESSAGE FROM GOD! But then I thought, what the heck? I know … and most of my blog readers know … there is no What If. We live. We die. We return to the stars. And that’s all she wrote.