My mother and grandmother always made sure to let me know that there is a higher power. Their faith in God was, and is, unshakable. They were good church-going women. I enjoyed going to church with them; it was so cheerful, with the singing and everyone praising the Lord. As a teenager, though I still enjoyed church, I knew that my work did not end there. In my mind, church was where you went for community and to hear a sermon which, hopefully, would further you spiritually. After church, it was my job to analyze and internalize that which I felt was in keeping with my beliefs. I did not internalize those things which put one religion over another; I had been raised to believe that if someone has a belief system wherein they respected others and didn't harm/hate, then I had no room to disrespect that which I did not know. I still feel this way.
I would often pray while walking, anywhere. In the park, to the bus, at the mall; it did not matter where, only that I prayed. I thanked God for the smallest things; daisies, trees, rivers, lakes, rocks. I thought all of nature was a sign that God is. Now don't get me wrong. I am no more religious than the next person, as a matter of fact, I have a problem with religion, but not with God. I believe God is bigger than all of the limits man puts on him. I believe God is pure love. But, I never discussed my theories on God, religion, prayer with anyone. I thought myself to be quite strange. That is, until my teenaged eyes read The Color Purple by Alice Walker.
The way that Celie took everything to God: her molestation, pain, sadness, and frustration; it made me know that someone else understood my relationship with God. I never understood the need for an intermediary. I took my lapses directly to the Lord, he knew my heart and it was safe with him. I have never trusted anyone else more.
That book made me weep. I was so grateful to feel less alone. There are lots of times when I feel that I am so far left of center that no one could reach me, or understand. That book made me feel understood, on more than one level. I always knew I marched to a different drummer, but at least someone else heard the same music.
Thank you, Alice Walker.