By Tara Jean
Some days I miss God.
As a child, I had absolute faith. I was raised in the ubiquitous New England, Congregational church. I was confirmed at thirteen, and taught Sunday school along side my grandmother from the time I was twelve. I had my own class by fourteen. For my entire freshman year of high school, I didn’t miss one Sunday of church. I played the Angel Gabriel in the Christmas pageant. I gave children’s sermons in front of full congregations. I was a councilor at an affiliated church camp. I read the Bible, both testaments, word for word. I can still recite the names of books of the New Testament in order, and can tell you just about every parable and bible story.
At the age of 16 during lent, I went to an Easter bible study session once a week. During this group my pastor at the time talked about sin and relationships and homosexuality with my teen group. And right then, in those four Wednesdays, I started being angry, and indignant at her suggestions. Everything she said seemed problematic, and as I searched for text to support her points I came up empty.
As I got to college, I pushed further back from the church I grew up in. I discovered texts from other religions – ideas about the duality of nature – lies hidden in verses. I got points taken off in an essay in a college poetry class, when I refused to capitalize God. I stopped attending church – only occasionally popping in on a Unitarian service. As the radical, religious right gained prominence at the turn of the millennium, I rallied against their use of dogmatic text, and found fault in their reasoning. At funerals of friends who passed too soon, I would find no comfort in the prayers, but would instead cry angry, hot tears and curse any god who take a mother from her small children, or a son from their young parents.
I fell in love with a man who didn’t know who the Apostle Paul was and didn’t know that Moses was saved by the Egyptians long before he would battle them. So when we got married, we got hitched by a friend who I got a one day JP designation from the state of Mass. There was no church, no pipe organ, just a tall oak to stand in for God. I put the ceremony together myself, with only one reading from Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians to acknowledge the faiths we came from.
As a teacher, I dig on the Emerson and Thoreau, and their Transcendentalism. I have found myself more comfortable with the wonder of the present and natural world, and more in touch with man’s self-reliance. And, I love Jesus. Love him. He was the original community organizer and progressive. Its told came to preach on a hillside one day, and there were just five fishes and 12 loaves of bread to feed a crowd of thousands. He asked the crowd to share with their neighbors, and those meager loaves and fishes fed the masses. Oh Glenn Beck, if you only could see, that the biggest socialist in the room is JC himself.
This story does not end with me finding God again one day at my children’s bedsides. My children aren’t Christened, instead we hosted, and will host baby naming ceremonies. I am comfortable with where I stand on this planet – I am mostly comfortable with my place as just a speck in this universe. It’s only during these toughest weeks that I miss my prayers. I recite them out of old habits, but hear no response in the hush of the night. Instead, I hear the sigh of a baby, or the snoring of pup. I feel the brush of my husband’s arm, the cool of the night, and there, I find God in the details, and that’s enough for now.
You can read more of Tara Jean’s thoughts at http://mamataraj.wordpress.com/