Congenital Believer

I HAVE ALWAYS loved fairy tales and to this day read E. Nesbit and the Oz books, Andrew Lang and the Narnia books and Tolkien with more intensity than I read almost anything else. And I believe in magic or want to. I want flying saucers to be true, and I want life to exist on Mars, and I dream of a heaven where old friends meet and old enemies embrace one another and weep. And just at dawn in an eighteenth-century castle built of rose-colored stone in Dumfriesshire, I have reason to think I saw a ghost. All of which is to say I am a congenital believer, a helpless hungerer after the marvelous as solace and adventure and escape. I am also a fabricator, and I am willing to believe that the whole business of God in my life may be something I have fabricated out of my need for solace and adventure if not for escape because religion has never seemed escape to me. Escape would be for me to get out of religion with all its demands and promises—rather than to get into religion. Maybe it is all just a dream. Maybe none of it is true except in some wispy sense true for me. . . . But I did get mixed up with it, and I am mixed up with it and by it still, and as I stand here in the kitchen waiting for the water to boil, waiting for the time to wake up the children, I must speak of this. Such faith as I have, where did it come from and why?

- originally published in The Alphabet of Grace 

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