I like to think that Afternoon of Sundries is a blog, a place, where I can tell the truth. Sometimes the truth is ugly. Sometimes the truth had gotten me into trouble. Sometimes the truth is freeing. Sometimes the truth frees you from things and people you thought you needed.
Truth is like that.
When I was little, putting aside the more graphic nature of that time, I felt a strong presence of God and his Angels in my life. I can say that with unwavering clarity. I felt Him. I knew Him. He held me when I cried, He took the pain more than once when I was beaten (so much so, once I prayed I would feel no pain and I didn’t; once a delighted bubble escaped my lips during such a beating that utterly frightened my mother.). I prayed for hugs and got them, though there was no one physically there.
Call it psychosis. Call it escapism of a poor abused child. Whatever makes you comfortable.
He was there. Always there. Friends left. Parents were loving one minute and hostile the next. But He was there. He was.
As I grew, so did my outgoing nature. I made friends. Those childhood Angels were called upon less for comfort (though they popped up now and again). I still prayed faithfully every night (I often fell asleep talking to Him). It was different.
There is a saying a friend told me that was, when you come to God as a child, you understand and know him as a child. As you grow, you change and you cannot know him in the same way because you are no longer a child.
I don’t know if that was something he heard, or a cobbling together of verses, but I needed to hear it.
As I grew I became so disenchanted with religion. People were saying one thing, doing another. People were opening the church to select people, and subtly pushing out others (or downright telling them to leave). My love and fearful respect (The God of the Old Testament is no joke, I will certainly never have any other idols before him!) of my God in heaven was still there, but it was different.
I wanted to know more.
Luckily, my college, Greensboro College, requires students to take religion. Taking Old and New Testament classes were a revelation (pardon the pun). The teachers in this classes were encouraging us, almost frantically imploring us, to use our minds when reading and discussing the Bible. To read the Bible for ourselves. To understand that it has been edited, books removed, put in, metaphorical and literal contexts, translations, how politics played a part in editing at times, that interpretations vary – all of this wonderful conglomeration is just simply and not so simply, a guide on how people thought God wanted us to live. Directly in some cases, and through human mediums in others.
To say we understand God fully, would be folly. To say that we never stop learning, now that sounds fantastic.
It troubles me to know that everyone seemingly has the answers to what God wants for us. I find I don’t know. What troubles me, is often, we are asked to believe without question. Actually, to question is heresy. Yet, Jesus was the great teacher. He encouraged his followers to learn. I dare say,he enjoyed learning himself (I would think it is evident the fisher of men enjoyed learning about his fish – perhaps I am wrong).
So why, do we think of learning, of asking, of discovering to be sinful? Of wrongness?
So I have been discouraged. Until quite recently.
I cannot say, my journey is at a close. I cannot say I have found the answers I have been seeking. I can say I have reached past my limits in the past months of understanding, of learning, of study. I have felt, an invigoration of my faith that defies much.
But one must be cautious. So I shall continue to read, and study and think. He is patient. He is kind. Like love, the love He has for us.
Deep stuff tonight! Thanks for reading!