Rags of Light

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"Asking myself why I breathe"

Wim Wenders, director of some of the most interesting movies (Wings of Desire; Paris, Texas) asks himself, “Why do I believe in God?

I have been away from God for a large part of my life, so I remember his absence. No, that’s the wrong way to say it. He wasn’t absent, I was. I had gone into exile of my own free will. I meandered through all sorts of philosophies, surrogate enlightenments, adventures of the mind, socialism, existentialism, psychoanalysis (another ersatz religion). Some of these I won’t deny or badmouth. I’m happy to have been there—and back.
I remember how tentatively I started to pray again. I remember how that slowly changed me. I remember how I wept when I realized I had finally come home, when I felt that I was found again.
And how that feeling slowly transformed into a certainty.
Yes, a certainty.
But can I now answer: I believe in God because I remember how lost I was when I didn’t care? Or: I believe in God because I couldn’t take his absence anymore? Or: I believe in God because I cannot imagine any alternative? Or could I even conclude: I believe in God because in my life God has become such a reality that the very question is like asking myself why I breathe?

So once more, sitting in a field and letting the sun shine on me, I ask myself: “Why do I believe in God, Wim?”
“He called me by my name.”
He did. That’s all I can say in the end.
I am thankful for that every day.

Image from Wenders’ Wings of Desire