I received a letter recently which led to a lot of thinking. The handwritten letter was addressed to me personally and came from someone in the next village along to where I live. This person was a Jehovah's Witness and judging by the writing, relatively young. It contained the usual do you know God and I'd be happy to tell you more about Him.
The letter went in the bin, but I started to fantasize how the conversation would have gone if that person had been here talking to me. In addition, in a recent conversation with one of my relatives, it was mentioned that they didn't believe in God, which surprised me as I know they are regular church goers. And that led to the following scenario in my head:
Whenever I have doubts, I stand in front of the mirror and look at my reflection. I look and ask the question who am I? What am I? How come I'm here? The answer is actually quite spectacular.
I know I did nothing whatsoever to be here. Suddenly, there I was with not even an idea of here or of existing. Not a single thought happening - can't think without language. Sensations which I have no way of interpreting. The organs that I don't know anything about are delivering information to which I have few means of responding as I don't know anything yet. The feeling I later learn is hunger or pain or discomfort I can only respond to with what those around me interpret as crying. When none of those are there, everything is alright and that will eventually lead possibly to a smile and contented gurgling. But I understand nothing, I know nothing except these sensations.
And yet, here I am, whatever I am. And that, people, is the most amazing miracle that any of us will ever experience. And it's not just the miracle of birth, it's the miracle of life. The first thing all the people in the birth room want to see and hear is that first breath, that sign that an independent being has successfully arrived. What gender the baby is is not relevant without that first and subsequent breath coming and going.
That miracle takes place for the rest of one's life. If it was up to us to consciously take each breath, we'd be dead in the shortest time; there wouldn't even be a first or second breath. We are breathed.
Looking at the reflection in the mirror, I am overwhelmed. I did nothing but I am here; My breath goes in and out despite my lack of consciousness. And on top of all of that, each one of us is unique! Never has anyone exactly like you existed in the past or the present or the future. Just you. It is totally beyond imagination that I could be and yet, here I am.
It's because all of these factors that I am able to experience all the possibilities which having a body like ours offers. Good, bad, indifferent - all only possible because of that miracle occurring with each breath, right up to the last one.
Do you think your parents could have created a human being? All parents can do is initiate the growth of the container and do their best to enable the healthy growth of that container. But neither your parents or doctors and midwives present at birth can make that life breath start and keep going. The secret and miracle of life are in you, within each human being. And that life force on which we depend, is what I call God and that power is most assuredly real as real as I am.
Where does that leave me? Thankful. I am truly grateful for the possibility to experience life as a human being with all our senses. You couldn't come up with an idea like that and be able to execute it. I put effort into being conscious of the gift of life which I've been given, because the most valuable gift I will ever have is more than worthy of my full attention. The specific things that happen, the ups and downs we believe is life are trivial in comparison to that ongoing miracle. Water to wine? Trivial. Not a miracle to compare with life. In fact nothing we call a miracle deserves that term in comparison to miracle of life.
The kind of God most people seem to believe in, is this rather unpleasant old man with a white beard who is a control freak who offers all kinds of goodies, but linked to threats. Stick and carrot. The goodies are also only really available when you're dead - mind you, so are the threats. That old man also apparently has favourites and doesn't treat all equally - especially women!
When I look up at the Milky Way in the night sky and know that I am only seeing a fraction of everything there is in the Universe; when I know so little about that Universe, not even what is happening inside my body, which is closer than anything else; when you realise that we are all made up of just a few elements and we will never be aware of all that is going on at atomic level, it makes me wonder how anyone ever came up with the idea of that Old Man in the Sky as having that level of detailed interest in this little dot that's me on a blue dot in the farthest reaches of this galaxy doesn't make any sense to me at all. The same force that lives me, lives the universe. The fantastic thing is, that I can experience that life force within me, with the tools this body contains. And that is the most wonderful experience anyone can or will have in their life time. That's what I find is truly worth putting every effort I can into; just to experience the contentment, the love, the peace which that feeling generates. I definitely recommend it!
Wake up tomorrow and be aware that you have woken up, that you are still here, that you have the chance again to enjoy life and to be conscious of that.