When I was in high school it felt like God spoke with me.
Like he was always right there, ready and waiting and quietly watching, just over my left shoulder. I used to sit backstage, alone in the half-dark, during the long respites when I wasn’t on stage, and we would talk.
Face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.
Or at least that’s how I remember it.
Maybe it only happened once, really, maybe it more or less stopped as soon as I actually had friends maybe it didn’t last all of high school.
I remember Senior year, getting into the car on my first day of class—going to a real school for the first time, taking college courses like some sort of prodigy and my stomach buzzing like a bowlful of wasps— I remember thinking, quick praying upwards, “But you know what it’s like” and having it all of a sudden hit me: yeah, He does.
He was mortal and walked the earth, He’d done this too. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who suffered every temptation known to man, yet was without sin.”, wasn’t that little gay me’s favorite verse?
And I remember sobbing in the woods in the canyon freshman year of college, because film didn’t work and wasn’t going to and I was going to flunk and no one liked me. And I remember getting a gentle pat on the head, and a reminder that no, there was no way I was going to flunk, and friendships take time, and assuming I would be Roger Deacon the second I picked up a camera had been stupid.
And then silence.
It stretched through sophomore and into Junior year. This ceiling over my head, this emptiness in the air, and I wasn’t even sure anymore if He was real.
It’s easy to say you imagined it after the fact. It’s easy to slip on the idea that it was all in your head then, when it’s all in your head now.
I had used to like saying (or imagine saying, no one ever asked me) that it doesn’t matter if God is real, Christianity is still the best way to go, is still what makes me happy, even if it’s all a delusion. I’d rather be deluded. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t real.
One thing I learned from the Silence.
It does fucking matter.