In 1976, Easter Sunday (or Resurrection Day, as I prefer to call it now), was the 18th day of April. On or around that day, I wrote the following poem from the agnostic/atheist perspective I had at the time:
I hide the colored Easter eggs
but not in celebration of
any god or goddess
I am commemorating
my childhood springs
for my son and daughter
and their unfolding wings
I won’t pretend to believe
what I do not know and cannot understand
but only that my son and daughter
go seeking hand in hand
I was twenty-two years old when I wrote that poem, working as a licensed real estate agent with a Century 21 company in Houston, Texas. The oil-rich Texas economy was booming in those post oil embargo days. My son was a little over four and a half years old and my daughter was eighteen months. They enjoyed their Easter egg hunt, especially the yellow peeps and chocolate bunnies.
I grew up in Missouri, in a church where the pastor was my father. My mom sang solos in our church sometimes, with her clear soprano voice, smiling like a movie star on Broadway. As a little girl, after being baptized in the James River, I considered myself a true Christian. But as I got older and both of my parents lost their faith for a time, and especially as more and more insanity and abuse happened in our home, I lost my faith.
It happened in the mid 1960s, less than a year before Time magazine published a black cover with the words “Is God Dead?” My minister father was arrested in the summer of 1965 for trying to murder my mother. He was taken to jail after a night so violent that I actually believed, for several heart stopping moments, that my dad had killed my mother. A few months later, after our only car was taken and our home was lost due to the family breadwinner being locked up and no longer employed, my traumatized mother, in a fit of unfathomable despair, tried to gas herself and the five of us kids to death. I was twelve years old at that time.
Two years later, I had a post-traumatic mental breakdown. The problem was, this was more than a decade before PTSD became an official psychiatric label in 1980. And even then, it was many more years before medical professionals believed that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder could happen to anyone other than a military combatant in a war zone. Therefore, my PTSD was misdiagnosed, and everything in my life got way worse from there.
It was truly a miracle that by the age of twenty-two, I could function as a wife, a mother of two, and as a real estate agent. But at that time, I did not see my strengths as God-given abilities and blessings, because I no longer believed in God. With my Mensa IQ, I thought I was too intelligent to believe in “fairy tales.” There was no Santa, there was no Easter bunny, and there was no God. I was almost sure of it.
So in the month of April 1976, I hid colored Easter eggs for my two preschool children and wrote a poem about it. I attended to my job at the Century 21 office in downtown Houston. And every day I lived my life according to what seemed right to me, with no thought of God. Situational ethics was my creed.
Then my world fell completely apart, in just about every way.
Today, after a lifetime of seeking truth, I am fully persuaded that the only thing that can explain the amazing complexity of the incredible bodies that we live in, the awesome world we live on, and the unfathomable universe around us, is Intelligent Design. No, we did not simply evolve out of nothing over eons of incremental, accidental, “survival of the fittest.” Nothingness can only create more of nothing. Without a vastly intelligent creator, either nothing, or utter chaos, should exist.
Today I believe in Christ Jesus, because the preponderance of the evidence compels me to believe. No, I don’t have all of my questions and doubts answered, by any means. But I believe in God the Creator, and I believe that he came to earth in human form, as Jesus the Messiah, to show us how to live according to the one great law, the law of Love. I believe Christ was murdered on a cross and I believe Christ rose from the dead and was seen by many people, who were then willing to give up their lives for teaching what they knew to be true, after they saw the Lord Jesus ascend up to heaven again.
I also believe that this life is very short compared to the eternity in front of us, and that the sorrows we experience in this earthly existence will be turned into a great and eternal joy, for all of those who call on the name of Jesus Christ to be saved.
“…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation.” –Romans 10:9-10 New English Translation (NET Bible)
As the amazing, inspirational Bill Sweeney said in his “TGIF” post today, on his blog Unshakeable Hope: If you haven’t done so already, today is a great day to make this commitment.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)