At a reading of poems from my book Lightning and Ashes, I read the ones about my father’s faith and my mother’s loss of faith, and some school children in the audience ask me if I believe, and I don’t know what to say.
I don’t believe of course, but it’s not easy standing up and saying that I don’t have any faith, that God is not in my heart, that all their dreams of Heaven and salvation and the final reunions with their mothers and fathers in some blessed place beyond time is lost on me. Especially to kids.
How can I say to them that, for me, when Jesus died he died.
I try to find something that will soothe the school children, speak to them, give them some hope in hope, but what can I tell them?
Can I give them something from Emerson or Whitman? Call I tell them, “That heaven walks among us”? Or that what “is really Me shall live just as much as before”?
I can’t tell them what I can’t tell them, and instead I tell another story, about how I told my wife I didn’t believe in anything and she looked at me and said, “You’re kidding yourself. You’re the most spiritual person I know.”