When I was a little kid growing up in the country, I used to lie on my back in the yard and stare at the sky, trying to grasp the fact that it never ended. It was impossible, of course, and I believe that was when I started wondering about life: what it was, why I was here. What did it all mean?
My family wasn’t religious. We would sometimes go to a midnight service on Christmas at the Episcopal church because my mother’s family were Episcopalians, but it was really just to see the pretty decorations and listen to the music. And we’d go to the Congregational church sometimes on Easter to see all the nice clothes people were wearing.
But I wanted to know what God really was, if indeed there was such a thing as “God.” I was surprised to discover that none of my friends at school were interested in these existential matters. They seemed preoccupied with having fun, playing sports, and by the time I was in junior high, flirting. Not that I was disinterested in day-to-day things, but I just had this nagging feeling that there had to be more.
I remember when I was ten years old, I suddenly started to feel detached from everything, even from my own body. I would look at my hand or foot and think, “What is that?” It just didn’t seem to be “me.” I walked around feeling this way for nearly a month, barely speaking to anyone, and my mother thought I’d gone off the deep end. Eventually the feeling passed, but not the desire to know who I really was.
This search after truth is a thread that runs through my book, and actually ties everything together. Eventually I did find an answer, and it went way beyond what we ordinarily think of as “religion” or “God.”