How does one go about talking with God? Part 1 of Drinks with Divinity trilogy.
|At some point in a newly minted adult's life, it occurs to them that it's time to break away from their parents and fly free from the roost in search of their own adventure. They pack up, say their good-byes and leave the house into a world of independence and new ideas, hoping to find something, or someone, in the same situation; hoping to connect enough to share their ideas and their hopes from the world beyond their childhood abode. Some find success and sink into their new living with ease, seamlessly shifting their perspective from child to head-of-household; others run screaming back into the arms of their parents. Still others maintain a balance between the new life and the old. I was one of those middle-grounders.|
My parents are Christian, and though they aren't the most ardent or stringent observers of the religion's central dogma, they still raised me, and then my brother and me, in the ways of Jesus Christ and the Bible. To me, God was above, the Devil was below, and you had to be good if you wanted to go to Heaven. I didn't question the things that confused me, though I realize now that this laid the groundwork for my later crisis-of-faith, and I was altogether the perfect vision of the good little Christian girl until well into Middle School.
Until I was nearly thirteen, it never occurred to me that there might have been a better path for me to follow. I was, after all, already an outspoken, though decidedly less eloquent, philosopher, even in those turbulent prepubescent years. By that time, the Bible had lost much of its majesty, having been subjected to many an angst-driven analysis of both its words and the message it portrayed. Though I still retained the mantle of Christian, it had been worn threadbare, with gaping holes in the cloth that was my faith, and I knew, even then, that I would have to have a serious talk with God.
It took a while for God to clear His busy schedule and have a chat with me, and during that time I found myself searching for a new house to turn to; searching for another place to send my everlasting soul. Even at the tender age of thirteen, my first taste of Paganism, I had realized that it was time for me to leave the house of my upbringing and search for that elusive something else that would make my life complete. Unfortunately for me, God had no inclination of letting me go until He had given me that final lecture on the responsibilities of the real world--that one last parental gem every parent feels the need to give, just in case they've messed up everything else. I suppose it's a parent thing; they know the time has come for their child to begin a new life and they're willing to let said child go, but not without one last bit of sage, parental advise. They really can't help it. Though their child could be a grown adult, parents will always see their little baby, and will always feel a need to protect them. Apparently God was no different. And so I returned, tail tucked between my legs, and waited until He could clear His schedule for a farewell tea party.
When you meet God, it is expected that you dress up, and not the semi-dress clothing that one wears to Church. I'm talking all out, nicest-outfit-you-own dressing up. Of course, when God discovers an opening in His busy schedule, you go talk to God no matter what you're wearing. This, just my ever wonderful luck, happened with me and I was stuck meeting God in a Dolphins jersey, khaki shorts, and a pair of pink flip-flops, my hair tied back into a pony-tail and my hands full of bags from my annual "birthday shopping day". I had just purchased my mother a book on Greek Mythology when I smelled tea.
"Good afternoon, child," God spoke, sitting at the other end of a small, birch-wood table, a teapot steaming and two empty teacups ready to do their duty. "I apologize for the short notice, but it seems that the two of us need to have a little bit of a chat."
I nodded, emboldened by God's kind words and friendly demeanor. In my still childish way, being almost fifteen at the time, I had feared God's holy vengeance. He was the parent that had been wronged by a child, seemingly pushed away in a fit of foolish fancy, and I had expected a much more stern countenance from the Lord. "Yessir," I said, licking my lips, "I suppose that we do need a meeting."
"You requested a meeting with me two years ago because you feared that you were losing your faith. It seems to me that this isn't the case at all, Chesnaye. You haven't lost your faith, it's merely manifested itself as something different than my biggest religion has offered. Would you like some tea? Earl Gray? English?"
"Erm...Earl Gray, please. Lemon...and a lot of sugar," I replied, smiling. "Now...What were you saying about my faith not being good for your largest religion? Isn't Christianity the only way to get into Heaven? I mean, it says that in the Bible and...we all know the Bible consists of your words."
"Yes, indeed it does consist of my Word. But you'll find that humans tend to embellish things to make them sound better. They are my words, but they are not my only words, child. I am God, after all, and perhaps more holistic than your human mind might be able to accept. Many words are my Word. And I believe I might have found the words for you, though I suppose that I am not the best one to explain them."
I had guessed exactly what God meant. "Paganism," I whispered.
God nodded. "Athena, you can come in now."
Athena looked as I had always pictured her in my mind: regal, swimming in Greek-style robes and protected by both armor and helmet, her owl on her shoulder and black hair streaming down her back. Grey eyes flashed powerfully even as a warm smile crossed lips that I could only describe as perfect. "Hello, child."
"Hello, Athena," I replied before turning to God. "Athena is going to talk to me about my new religion?"
God chuckled, amused twinkle lighting his wisdom-filled eyes, and raised an arm to acknowledge Athena. "I figured she would be best for you, Chesnaye. She is of the pantheon that you know best, and she is the Goddess of Wisdom, so who better to teach you those words of mine that few remember are, indeed, mine?"
"Right." I sipped at my tea, eyes roaming the surface of the table as my mind grasped at what had happened. Paganism, I thought. I run from the House of my Childhood into the House of my Future- from Christianity to Paganism. May I find what I hoped to find.
God smiled. "Go on, child. Athena has much to teach you and I want you to have time to celebrate your faith before you begin to teach others. Good-bye, my child, and don't forget to visit."
And then, much like the parent of a young adult moving out for good, God smiled, raised his hand, and waved.
Sometimes, children come back. And their parents will let them back, and give them safety. But most children don't go back once they've left the roost. Most will enjoy their new life, their new place in the world, and won't return. They might visit, but they'll never again be the dependent creature that they were before. With me, it's exactly like that. I've found my home in Paganism. I enjoy it. And though God and I have had tea parties since then, I've never even considered returning to Christianity. God is my past, the Goddess is my future, and their mixture will be my life.