A Mini Musing on Fear & Faith

I was inspired by this quote from John Steinbeck.  It also serves as an explanation and apology for what I write today:

“But sometimes in a man or a woman awareness takes place — not very often and always inexplainable. There are no words for it because there is no one ever to tell. This is a secret not kept a secret, but locked in wordlessness. The craft or art of writing is the clumsy attempt to find symbols for the wordlessness. In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable. And sometimes if he is very fortunate and if the time is right, a very little of what he is trying to do trickles through — not ever much. And if he is a writer wise enough to know it can’t be done, then he is not a writer at all. A good writer always works at the impossible. There is another kind who pulls in his horizons, drops his mind as one lowers rifle sights. And giving up the impossible he gives up writing.”  John Steinbeck



I spent 50 years of my life terrified of dying, haunted since I was eight years old by my father’s answer to my asking what would happen to me after I died. Dad said, “You get put in the ground, your body turns to dust, and you are nothing.” There was no further discussion. 

I spent many dark nights, lying awake in bed, trying to imagine what it would be like to be nothing until the incomprehensible overwhelmed me with fear and I pulled the covers of sleep up to my chin and slipped into nothingness.

Fear has graciously been replaced by the inexplicable – a diaphanous belief I am already in eternity and with the disintegration of my human body begins the integration of all I’ve experienced into what my soul already knows.