When my son was three, we took him to a park with a stream, where we planned to teach him to fish. His little fist gripped a blue Mickey Mouse fishing rod as his older brother, his father and I led him down a small hill from the parking lot, carefully picking our way among tree roots and large rocks. Two middle aged men stood at the edge of the water, rods in hand. All was quiet except for the bubbling of the water until Matt piped up in a loud and joyful voice.
“ARE YOU FISHING? WE’RE FISHING TOO!”
He stumbled as fast as his little legs could go down the bank to the stream. The men mumbled something to each other I could not hear. My husband said it was about scaring the fish away, and I was grateful they were nice enough not to dampen Matt’s enthusiasm.
That little moment of joy came back to me the other day as I thought about my faith.
Are you fishing? I asked myself. At my minister’s request, I wrote a short piece for church on moments of transcendence. I was fishing in my memory stream, 70 years’ worth of incidents, and came up with a few that fit. The day I heard a comforting voice when no one was there. The dark night I watched a groundhog in my parents’ backyard. Putting them into words was not too hard. These moments helped me see what I don’t understand: what I mean by God, and how to explain the ineffable. I think that’s what we do when we go to church together, fishing in the stream of Scripture, sifting to find meaning from what others have put into words.
I believe there is more to the Universe than meets the eye or ear or any of the human senses. Quantum physics has a theory of parallel universes. This would scare the hell out of my mother, who refused to hear about light years or star dates. The new scientists say there could be multiple layers of time and experience, that there is no linear time, and that all we have is now. In other words, everything is happening at the same time. I want this to be true, even though if I think too hard on it, I start to feel anxious like my mother.
Faith means that you decide something is true even though you can’t prove it with facts, studies, or experiments – yet. These ideas fascinate me so much that I wrote my novel, Where the Stork Flies, about the possibility of time travel, and of returning to the place and time we left behind.
Do we live in simultaneous periods of time? I want to believe it because I like it, because it means second chances all around the world, for everybody. It means having it all, doing it all, again and again until you get it right, or just the way you wanted. If and when bad times re-surface, we could somehow slip into a parallel universe where there is no Holocaust, no genocide, no fracking, no white supremacy or hate.
I like living with this possibility, even if it scares me a little. The Universe is always changing. Something is going on, I’m not sure what. I can’t really figure it out. What about you? Are you fishing too?