My mother sees her father, long passed, in cardinals perched outside her kitchen window. My father likes sharing his conversations with God with me. They question my faith because I don’t speak often about God, having long stopped attending church. I am dating their ideological opposite: a liberal atheist. My friend, also a devout atheist, half-jokes I will become one, too. After all, my relationship with God is nebulous, best captured in recollections of sunsets and moments of personal redemption, like persevering through a bad day.
My relationship with God, however, must be nebulous because of the mystery of the unknown. I do not seek evidence like a scientist or quote scripture like a fundamentalist because my sense of God is a force I’ve felt yes, in nature, in the raw, slow, healing of a broken heart, in the fire of new love, in the restoration of peace after a period of darkness… even in the darkness itself. Though I’ve read books authored by mystics, priests, and Buddhists, I cannot well articulate my sense of something greater than myself, something alive in the world and yet outside it. Like love, I just know it exists.