The Tao doesn’t take sides;
it gives birth to both good and evil.
The Master doesn’t take sides;
she welcomes both saints and sinners.

Hold on to the center.

It takes a lot of faith to be an atheist.


I mean, there’s all this stuff that happens around you that makes you go, “Man, that’s really coincidental.” Or there’s stuff that’s so completely irreconcilable — like the fact that Andrea is really funny when she talks about her cancer and that something so dreadfully frightening brings us together — that one cannot make sense of it “rationally”.

Like, when I first got clean 15 years ago, I heard people saying “Dude, I’m so glad I’m an addict.” My reaction, so like so many others, was “Whatever, man. This sucks. Can’t get high. Got no excuse for my bull. And I have to hang out with you people all the time.” That didn’t make any sense.

Until I found that my life was much more managable when I stopped trying to be in control of it. I was an addict and, oh, happy coincidence, there were all these other addicts that I could count on.

When I started working with people who were living with HIV/AIDS, I heard the same thing. Having had several years to learn that I was lucky to be an addict, you’d think I would immediately understand it when people told me that, while it sucked to live with HIV/AIDS, it made them stop and appreciate their lives in a way that they couldn’t before.

I knew this. Or I knew something of it. But, since one, coincidentally, only seems to get as much as one can handle at any particular point, I got it piecemeal. I learned first that I wasn’t in control. I learned second that sometimes we can only appreciate light because of darkness and ugliness because of beauty.

When Andrea (who, coincidentally, ended up at the same high school as me, was living next door to me when I moved back to Coral Springs, and moved to back Philly just before me — and less than two miles away) was diagnosed, I was struck again by coincidence and irreconcilable contradiction. The universe was affirming that it was time for me to slow done a bit more and to take more care of the most precious thing I have — the people in my life.

I was godsmacked.

I learned years ago that we don’t get to pick whether our days are filled with light or ugliness, so we need each other. But I only let so many folks in at one time. First addicts. Then people living with HIV/AIDS. Now I get to work daily on remembering how much of a privilege it is to share my life with people like Andrea, Kelly, Alec, Jesse, Tucker, Asa (yeah, even Tucker and Asa), Bailey, Clay, Alys, Orion, Tony, and all of those of you who have known and helped her be the amazing person she is.

You make it hard on an atheist though.

One Response to “Godsmacked”

  1. Siobhan says:

    amen, brother