When I was a little girl, aside from the images of God in the beautiful paintings that adorned the pages of the Bible my mother made us children read every week, my image of God was of a giant hand coming down from the heaven’s above, to chastise and control me.
God knew everything, my mother said. So, whether or not I wanted to tell her the truth, God knew. One day I’d pay the price for my transgressions. Which according to her (and the rest of my family) were many.
I know my mother meant well. I know she was trying to ‘bring me up right’. To be a God-fearing woman one day.
And therein lay the rub. I never wanted to fear God. I wanted to know Love.
As a child, I couldn’t understand why, if God saw and knew everything before it happened, he’d let bad things happen. Wouldn’t it be in his best interests and the best interests of the world to stop the bad before it got a whole lot worse?
Which is why I used to love to write letters to God. I figured that if he knew everything, he’d definitely be able to answer my questions. So, I’d painstakingly print him long rambling letters on lined paper, struggling to ensure each letter was perfectly formed.
It seldom was. At least, not well enough to gain my mother’s unconditional approval. In fact, she was somewhat askance at my letter writing efforts. “You can’t say that to God,” she’d admonish me. “He won’t like it.”
Which is where I kept running into confusion. If God loved me unconditionally wouldn’t he accept my childish queries with Love and no judgement?
According to my mother, God didn’t like smart alecs.
Now, I’m not trying to paint a picture of my mother as bad. She most definitely wasn’t. In her world, brought up by an ultra-Catholic mother, God was to be revered. Not questioned. God was to be obeyed. Not challenged.
I had other ideas. I liked to question everything (and yes, it drove her crazy). I was curious and stubborn, never accepting the answers I was given as anything other than an opening to my next question.
In the case of God, I didn’t think blind faith was a good enough reason to toe the religious line. I thought God, or in my vernacular today, the Divine, was greater than that.
I’m all grown up now. Well kind of. I even have a label, “senior citizen” (though that particular designation is a relatively new phenomenon in my life and, to be frank, one I am still surprised to witness when I look into the mirror).
These days, however, it is that label that is causing me concern. Senior citizens are one of the groups at higher risk of experiencing complications should they contract Covid-19. My beloved, who is a few years older than me, is at even greater risk because of an underlying health condition.
This morning, as I lay in bed in that space between awake and dreaming, I wrote a letter to God, just as I did as a child.
My vision of ‘God’ is different today than my childhood imaginings. Much of what I was taught way back then has gone by the wayside as I rose from those childhood pews and surrendered my fear of God to Love.
Which ultimately, is what my mother taught me – to always believe in the transformational power of Love.
It doesn’t matter the times, Love is always present, and if I am to believe my mother, so is God.
Your people are suffering. Many of them are dying. This world that was created with such Love, this world that is filled with so much beauty and wonder, is in pain.
We need you. Now more than ever, we need you and your battalion of angels to swoop down and sweep away this virus that is killing off so many of our humankind.
I know that death is a continuation of life, but dear God, these tears, this pain and anger, it is killing the human spirit. Decimating whole families, communities, countries. It is killing more than just your people God, it is killing our faith in tomorrow, our belief in the sacredness of life and our trust in Love.
Dear God, I know it is not your way to interfere in the daily workings of the world, that we have free will so that we can make our own choices, come what may. But honestly God, none of us would have knowingly, consciously chosen this pestilence. None of us want our loved ones to suffer alone and die alone. None of us want this. We don’t know what to do, and it is the unknown that is hurting us all.
Dear God, please have mercy on this suffering world. We need you and now, more than ever, we need Love. Because only Love can stop our pain. Only Love can quell our fear. And only Love can heal our broken hearts.
Your human who believes in the power of Love.
Please note. These are my thoughts. My beliefs. My way of understanding the world.
I am not challenging your faith, belief or religious practices. I am sharing what I feel, believe and hold true for me.
My beliefs may be different than yours, but that does not make us enemies. We may kneel before different altars, we may sit in different pews, but no matter where in the world we are, or what we believe, we are all one humanity.
I would love to hear your views, different or otherwise. It is our differences that make each life so unique and cherished. It is how we honour one another with loving-kindness, in all our differences, that makes all the difference in the world.