I had always taken things literally as a child, especially in regards to religion. When my Mother said that God was the Father of Man, I honestly believed this. When she said that the Bible was written by Men inspired by God, I believed that too. And when she explained that God made Man in his image I also took this to heart. However, not exactly the way a Christian would find appropriate.
I distinctly remember telling my Mother I was going to write my own Bible when I was six, which of course was blasphemy. I didn’t understand why these other people could be inspired by God but I could not. There were people everywhere “feeling the holy spirit” and I was supposed to seek to attain this feeling which is not so unlike “inspiration”. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t write my own.. or possibly get some other born again people to write with me. Modern Day Prophets, as it were. I loved God, I wanted to write for God. What made these other people greater than me? If we were all supposed to be the same and created in the same image and all made perfect by the selfless acts of Christ then why could I not write it? Artists can paint beautiful pictures and singers praise, acceptable forms of “godly inspired” works, but write a few sentences down and say it is inspired by God (which would technically make it Gospel) and you were considered possessed by Satan, seriously. Needless to say I got in a lot of trouble for this idea for a very long time.
I have my own faith that I have been known to joke as being called The Common Sense Religion because I simplify everything. A great deal of it has been formed around these literal ideas that birthed into my heart as a child and then magnified as I aged and understood them more. My faith is personal and I honestly believe that although there are some that could empathize or perceive theirs as being close, nothing can perfectly mirror what I have come to believe in my heart fully and completely, without hesitation.
I do believe in God, but not as others do. I don’t believe he is a male or a female or a person or a thing that made himself into a person and then died and became a thing again. It all gets really confusing. I don’t believe God is exactly any of the other Gods that anyone had ever come up with or that it’s an Alien. I don’t worship nature as God or darkness as God or… well you get the point. None of these things are God to me. In fact, I have absolutely no idea what God actually is. God could be anything… scientifically, religiously or theoretically or nothing. I don’t pretend to know what ‘God’ is exactly. How I understand it is that there are hundreds of beautiful books inspired by men and women in the world. All of these books hold the same principles, but each tells a different story and the reason they all have a different story is because ‘God’ is whatever they ‘feel’ God is. It’s a Turtle in some places, the Sun in others, it’s the Earth and the Moon, it’s Black or White, it’s Air. It’s twenty different Gods creating one single aspect or it’s one perfect Man. It’s a lot of things… everywhere… but here, for me, I just call him Dad. I don’t like making things complicated.
|© Michael Dudok de Wit|
When I was six and my Mom told me God was the Father this stuck to me like super glue. When you are six you don’t exactly understand the complexities of reproduction that actually create babies. There is just this figure you look up to with wide curious eyes that you want to make so proud and you know, absolutely 100% know, that because they are there everything is going to be okay. So God the Father wasn’t a sperm donor, I wouldn’t have even known what sperm was. God the Father wasn’t even Christian because the complexities of the Bible were so far beyond me. God the Father was exactly that, literally, a Father… some giant huge being that I never saw but was surely there somewhere always taking care of me, that I loved with great unconditional abundance. It is easy for me because my actual Father was rarely around when I was little and I personally do not recall his picture in my memory. I only have the remembrance that he was there at that place and time. So God is perfect for me to recognize this way, I can relate to this. You have to find what you can relate to. If you can relate to an Alien, by all means, that’s wonderful… weird, but wonderful. You found your Image.
God doesn’t talk to people. I used to pretend God talked to me so I wouldn’t feel stupid when I was little, but God doesn’t speak. A thing or no-thing has no vocal chords to speak and whatever voice is in your head is your conscious. You can talk to God all you want but I don’t believe he’s going to verbally talk back to you. That is not to say God has never communicated with people. I was once very hurt, very sad. I sat by a window and cried for days, it was November and the ground was frosting over. I would sit and talk to God for hours because I was alone and no one seems to wonder about me unless they were checking to make sure I didn’t commit suicide that day. I sat there, looking out the window that pressed against my bed and there beneath it, regardless of the soon-to-be winter chill, was a red Tulip. Tulips bloom in March and live for 7 days. They are called the flowers of God because of their beauty and perfection. This was not an imaginary Tulip. It was an actual flower that bloomed in November frost beneath the window of a sad little girl in a place that no flowers had ever grown in the years we lived at that house and neither would they ever grow in the following years. My entire family remembers this flower. This is the way God speaks.
We are made in God’s image and no one knows this literal feeling more than a parent, especially a Mother. Through pain we give birth to our children. We seek always to nurture and care for them by giving them the necessary things to survive and also in equal amount the desires of their hearts. Try as we might to dream of what they will be, they become their own people and they live their own lives no matter the lives we picture so perfectly for them. They love us as children, curse us as adolescents and then seek to find us again for who we really are outside of being a parent when they grow to adulthood and see each of us inside of them. This is the same relationship mankind has with what had created it. Every answer we seek is already there read by our hearts. How the world works can be found in the seasons, the flowers and the trees that encompass us. How to go on when all is lost are found in these same things. Life, Death and the meaning of each of these importance’s are written in the clouds that shift above us, the rain they let go of and the process of evaporation. Love is answered in the heart of each child that sees beyond the awful things of this world and can still smile when all is lost to them. The answers we seek are right in front of us, where they have always been. At least for me.
There is no book more good or beautiful than the one sitting with open pages in everything around me. And at least in this book I have my own story. I can be acceptably inspired by God and write my own story by living each day. I know, out there or somewhere around here, he is happy that I know this now (for myself) because the only thing I can think of that he really honestly could care about is our happiness. That’s the only true thing any parent could ever desire for their children. What else really matters?