Anne Tyler on Life, Death, Aging and Religion

Mortality is a thrumming theme. How does she feel about her own? “When my grandparents were ageing I thought it must be awful approaching the end of life. Now it seems natural. I don’t want to go on living forever and that’s not an upsetting thought."
In the same way as people talk about secular Jews, she says, she feels like a secular Quaker. “I’m not religious, but I like the ethics of Quakerism, the peace, equality and all they stand for."
When she was seven, Tyler “decided I could not manage to believe in God. I sometimes think I was smarter at seven than I ever have been since. I remember thinking, ‘Who would watch over you?’ I’m not a spiritual person. I’ve no interest in finding out the meaning of life."
When a character dies in [her latest book. a Spool of Thread], it is with the proclamation, “And that was the end". “I think that must be what dying is like," says Tyler. “Part of me has a wonderful time inventing heavens and thinking I could see my husband and parents again and one brother who has gone. But I don’t have any feeling that I will. I believe you see the car coming at you and nothing. That’s the end."
“Years ago John Waters told me it would be nice to have somebody in his life, but he thought that after about two days [his partner] might say something like, ‘How about I hang this one picture of mine over on that wall?’ and that would do it. Out you go."
“I kind of feel that way. I don’t want to move over and make room for somebody else. I’m good on my own. I have good friends and daughters and sons-in-law and grandchildren. It seems like a full life to me."
Excerpts from:
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/15/anne-tyler-interview-i-am-not-a-spiritual-person-spool-of-blue-thread?CMP=ema_565

I sometimes think I was smarter at seven than I ever have been since.
This sentence really jumped out at me. I distinctly remember when I was in the Second Grade (seven years old) and a priest came in to our class to talk to us in preparation for our first confession and First Communion. I remember him telling us about how God sent his son Jesus to die for our sins and that First Communion was to honor Jesus by taking his body into ours. I remember thinking "What? That doesn't make any sense!" How could he have died for my sins when I wasn't even around back then? And if he died for my sins, why to I have to go to confession? But I was a 2nd Grader and he was a priest, so I didn't ask. As far as what happens after we die, all I can say with certainty is: I don't know.
I sometimes think I was smarter at seven than I ever have been since.
This sentence really jumped out at me. I distinctly remember when I was in the Second Grade (seven years old) and a priest came in to our class to talk to us in preparation for our first confession and First Communion. I remember him telling us about how God sent his son Jesus to die for our sins and that First Communion was to honor Jesus by taking his body into ours. I remember thinking "What? That doesn't make any sense!" How could he have died for my sins when I wasn't even around back then? And if he died for my sins, why to I have to go to confession? But I was a 2nd Grader and he was a priest, so I didn't ask. As far as what happens after we die, all I can say with certainty is: I don't know.
Right. But we can go by what we do know. There is no indication that it is anything different than before we were conceived. Speculation and wishful thinking don't count. I could never get my mind around Jesus dying for our sins, either. Never made sense to me and I have never heard a rational explanation--just a lot of hot air. Lois Lois