I had been waiting for that question among many others that I cringe at the thought of being asked. The conversation a few weeks ago went something like this:
Clay: “what’s that building Mama, a castle?”
Me: “No, honey that’s a church”
Clay: “what’s a church”
Me: “a church is a place people go to learn about God”
Clay: “who’s God”
Me: holding my breath and hoping he forgot the question
Clay: “WHO’S GOD MAMA”
Me: “Did you see that bird over there?”
For those who have known me my whole life, my reaction and avoidance may surprise you with my long history of going to church, christian schools and camps. Yet, it’s my history with all of those that led me to my reaction. I don’t want my experience and understanding of God to be my children’s understanding. Don’t get me wrong I am very grateful for all of that knowledge, it has come in handy a number of times in my life. But that was all it added up to be when my world started crumbling, just knowledge. It hadn’t been an experience or a practice. At some points during my emotional adolescence I would have told you that I had a spiritual experience and that I had a personal relationship with God. What I had was some prayers that I threw to the sky when I didn’t have the answers and I was scared. I didn’t believe or trust that I was going to be taken care of, or that I was unconditionally loved. I didn’t come to believe and trust that until after I turned 30. I hope my children don’t have to wait that long.
When I hit a bottom in my life and started a path of recovery. I was told that I needed to find a Higher Power of my understanding. That I could define and name that Higher Power and that it could be as complicated or simple as I needed it to be. I knew I didn’t want the God that I remembered from some of the schools, churches and camps I had attended. That God was a judging, vengeful entity that already had my life planned out for me. Therefore all of the bad things that had happened in my life had been a result of that God. It was suggested I write out a list of attributes that I wanted/needed from my Higher Power (who I now chose to call God). But when I sat down to write that list I remember crying, I didn’t feel like I deserved to ask for what I needed. So I wrote a list of attributes I couldn’t have in a God. Then I wrote a list of all the times I knew that someone or something had been taking care of me. It became a freeing and fulfilling journey, that I am so grateful for.
Yet, I still don’t have words to explain God to my children.
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