The first time I sincerely contemplated the non-existance of God was this past February. I’d been reading through old journals, trying to capture significant moments to give an overview of my life and the struggles I’ve faced… trying to understand why I am the way I am.
I had just finished reading my 8th grade journal and moving into my first year of high school. It finally hit me how hard a transition that was. I was 14. It was exactly half my life ago.
I found myself wanting to go back and talk to 14 year old me. Wanting to somehow prepare her for the brutality of life that she has so far been shielded from. But I realized I didn’t have anything to tell her. There’s nothing I could have said to prepare her for what was approaching. Instead I wanted to hold her and cry, and I knew that 14 year old me would be totally weirded out by it. But I looked at the upcoming events, and tried holding her as her heart broke in new ways. I have to be there for her, she has nobody.
There are times in my life when I talk to Past Me. Having new understanding of life and the situations I was faced with, I talk to that clueless girl of yesteryear. Last December I went walking through the cemetary that was nearby my childhood home. And I suddenly began pouring out my heart to little Gracie girl. Trying to instill courage and hope into Gracie-going-through-puberty. It felt like a necessity. Once I know things a little better, I feel compelled to talk to old me. I can’t change what’s going to happen or what she’s going to do, but I let her know I’m there for her, that everything truly will be alright in the end. “You’re gonna make it. Things will change. And you are LOVED.”
When I did this again this past February, trying to brace 14 year old me for the dramatic changes of high school, I suddenly went into a panic. I was overcome with anxiety as in a flash of a second I became convinced that God did not exist. That it was only me. That in all the difficult times of life when I somehow still felt the reassuring presence of a God who loved me- that the presence I felt was none other than Future Grace. The Grace who already went through the experience and comes back in time to spiritually support me. There is no God- there is only me.
The next day this concept seemed totally batshit crazy. I do still believe in God, although my concept of what God is has been going through some major upheavals. But I don’t think my idea of Future Me coming back to comfort/support Present Me is too far out there.
Time doesn’t exist in the linear form we think it does. I’m no scientist, but I’ve read enough to know that what we think we know is incredibly limited. We DO know that people throughout history have had the ability to see the future (and even the past). Apparently I’m one of them, but not in a very dramatic way. It’s mostly personal, and it’s not so much vision as it is feeling.
I think my theory of Future Me interacting with Present Me (or Present Me interacting with Past Me) is somewhat supported in that Past Me has tapped into Future Me. There are so many poems and songs I’ve written (or simply stories I’d spun in my imagination) that had no personal relevance at the time of their writing. I didn’t really know what I was writing or WHY I was writing it. It didn’t really make sense at the time. But I shrugged my shoulders and continued living life. Now I am experiencing so many of these things I wrote about. They are suddenly now incredibly personal. Somehow I was channeling my own future without even realizing it.
You can call me crazy and delusional if you want, and I fully expect you to. But it doesn’t really matter what you think. All that matters is what I think, and how I live my life. And this bizarre timeless relationship I believe I have with myself actually gives me a measure of peace and hope and courage. I know there’s the element of God surrounding me in my darkest moments. And knowing that the ultimate Creator has my back is certainly comforting. But truth be told, it feels a little more comforting to imagine that it’s me, because it proves to me that I made it. If Future Me can connect with Present Me, then I know that I made it through my current dark night. I’m gonna make it. I’m gonna be ok.
Afterall, who’s support would truly be the most helpful to me? Wouldn’t my own support be the most helpful? Wouldn’t Future Me, who already went through it and made it to the other side- wouldn’t her support be the ultimate? She knows me, she IS me, she’s already had the experience, and she loves me more than anyone ever could. I’m going to trust her more than I’d trust anyone else.
For the religious among us who need a more sanctified and less blasphemous sounding concept, let’s just say that it is God working through Future Me. We can all agree on that, can’t we? In the moment I think it’s God surrounding me with love, and that is true. But we can easily say it is God working through Future Me to express love to Present Me (which would certainly give God’s love a more “personal” touch, an intimacy I desperately crave). Afterall, God exists outside of time. He doesn’t need to meet me right here and now (He’s already here…), He can easily work through Future Me to reach Present Me. Basically, it all ends up meeting me in the Present Moment anyway, so the complications are irrelevant.
It’s a crazy concept that’s a little difficult to really wrap the mind around. But it both amuses and comforts me. If it’s nothing but a crutch, then I can accept that too, because sometimes we could all use a crutch to help us stand. Whatever gets us up and moving is blessed of God.
And look what lyrics now come to mind! Theory in action: I was writing for this exact moment.
“Keep on standing
even if you need a crutch
I’ll be there
I’ll be there to lift you up
Don’t give up in the middle of the night
In the middle of the night
the sun is on it’s way.”