Before Arthur died I tended towards agnosticism, if not outright atheism. I have always had a skeptical mind. Arthur was deeply spiritual and this was a thorn between us.
One of the components of grief is a searching for meaning: Why does life exist if it’s just going to end in death? What is the meaning of being alive? How can someone be so vital one moment and in the next moment the light goes out of their eye and they are gone even though their body remains? Why does this universe exist? What’s the point?
These questions swirled in my mind in the first grueling months of grief.
In those months there were also moments where I had undeniable feelings of connection to something deep and true underlying the material world. These moments gave me a lifeline, a spark of hope in the gloom.
Eventually I had enough of these experiences that I realized I could no longer be an agnostic. There is something deeper, something more than the physical. I know because I have felt it.
I refer to my new faith as STM: Some Thing More.
The two pillars of this faith (at least so far) are the existence of love and beauty.
Beauty spoke to me in the deepest hours of my grief, lifting my heart and giving me the strength to carry on. On hikes last spring I was regularly struck with the bounteous beauty in all things (Bounteous Beauty blog post).
Nature kept whispering to me: Beauty is the underlying essence of the All.
Love. In my grief I felt the love in my heart expanding. How does love endure past death? How could I love Arthur more now than when he was alive? Why is love one of the greatest needs of the human heart, the need to love, and the need to be loved?
Love is a force at the heart of human life.
And not just human. Recently I saw videos of two very unlikely animals enjoying having their stomachs rubbed: a bat and a penguin. Not long ago I went on a tour of a local nature center with a woman who works there, and when she called to the wolves in their open enclosure they came running, wagging their tails like dogs, and hung out near the fence with our group.
How many videos are there on FaceBook that show animals from different species caring for one another?
Perhaps when humans remove the need for survival from animals’ lives, by providing all the food and shelter they need, we create the environment in which the lion can lie down with the lamb.
Why? Because Love is the underlying essence of the All.
Love and Beauty. Some Thing More.