Last night my son and I were goofing around in my back yard at that in-between hour when the world is in shadow but the sky remains lit by the retiring sun. Sawyer lay on his back and observed that the sky, now a canopy of gathering clouds, looked like another world on top of ours. I lay beside him, and had to agree.
Sawyer then said he could see the face of God in the clouds; then he said that God wasn’t a single being but a lot of energy; then he said that he believed there were other civilizations on other planets; then he said that he wished he could live in one of those other civilizations.
As Sawyer leap-frogged from one existential idea to the next, I had the strange feeling that I had reached the moment in the movie of my fatherhood where the Happy Ending credits had begun to roll. Five years before I felt triumphant if my autism-spectrum son responded to his name; now we were discussing God. But in the next moment Sawyer said that he did not want to live too long because he believed that life would be too hard and too boring. The credits stopped rolling and I was back to the job of father again.
I said something about it being his choice whether life was hard or boring, even though the true answer was as obvious as the sky overhead. Here he was worrying about the opposite of what he was living in that very moment. But I could hardly blame him for questioning or me for missing the answer. The ease of life is not so simple to believe. It reminded me of certain writers I’ve interviewed who confessed how quickly and easily their most recent book had come. It was as if something valuable couldn’t arrive so effortlessly.
It always makes me laugh to hear this, and I assure the writers that their secret is safe with me. Yes, not to worry; the next one will be hard. Or perhaps not. Then what would we do? Then we might have to feel our full self, even with nothing but the sky to push against it.
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