It was a cold Saturday about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, shortly after our theology class we sat alone. Joe asked me for the second time, “come on Tom, tell me why you believe there is a God.”
I responded – better put, I tried to respond – “My family brought me up to believe in God and the church, and it’s obvious nothing comes from nothing, so everything must come from something.” After a brief hesitation I continue, “and God is everything.”
Joe sat back and smiled, as he always did. “Sounds like a ‘squirm,’ not an answer.”
Thirty two years have passed since that cold Saturday afternoon – sadly so has Joe. But the question of God is still one that haunts me for there is no answer outside of the unexplainable and oft confusing state of one’s faith. My “faith” has changed – my belief in God has changed.
Now I have come to realize that what I believe is easier to explain, and since Joe is with me I’ll answer his question in this column. So here goes McGarr – and Joe, I still love your smile and miss your laughter.
Life is, much like matter, complex and at times without understanding. We have all heard “I think I am therefore I am” – much too simple an answer. Existence, “being,” goes beyond my own thinking; it involves the thoughts of hundreds of others.
These many others are people I passed each day who may not have known me, people my life has physically touched and know me, and those many who have been touched, not just physically, but deeply touched by my love. These – those touched by my love – is that which makes necessary my belief in the existence of God. However, I understand that God has changed for me.
The concept of God has been weighted down, tortured and twisted by the forces of wealth, power and control. There is no necessity to connect “God” and a select “church,” for once connected there is no greater example in life that mirrors segregation, isolation and condemnation.
History, the teacher we humans consistently ignore, tells the undeniable truth and whispers to humanity, “nothing changes, nothing changes, you are what you were and fail to be what you could be.”
My belief in God has changed, the necessity of attending church reduced to social connection. I am not called to worship, I am called to serve and enhance what I touch. But there is the “need” of God.
I need to be – not just now, but forever. I do not want to just die, to cease to exist, I want a continued connectedness to those I love.
What I fear most is not death, it is simply being withdrawn from the ability to love and be loved. Love is. I want a coninued ability to love and I want it forever.
So I have come to understand this truth for me: God is beyond human terms and understanding; every explanation of God limits the reality of forever connectedness. Joe, God is One. You still exist since I can see you in my mind and feel you in my heart.
Where there is love there is life, where there is life there is hope, where there is hope there is found forever.
God, please let there be a forever.
Thomas H. Hunkele of Troup County is a certified fitness trainer and president of Lakeside Fitness.