Lately I’ve craved a relationship with God. Something I lost a long time ago.
Being raised in a catholic school, I was taught about a “loving God” who punished sinners. One day I went home begging my mother to get baptized because that day we learned you’d go to hell if you weren’t. This was confusing. How can someone be life giving and all loving, but condemn my mother who was my universe. Why was it wrong to be gay? Is sex really that terrible? Why can’t I just be good?
I would pray every night as a child. Dear God, please help my dad get better. Dear God, please help my mom, she’s hurting. Dear God, just make things easier for my family. Dear God, I promise I will do whatever you need if you could just take away their pain. Dear God, we need money please can we please just win the lottery. I think I needed to believe in something bigger than me, it was an outlet for hope as I went to bed cold, confused, and worried most nights.
In college, I lost God entirely. I dated a boy who questioned, and at times condemned, my faith. He would turn on videos about space, and aliens, and the absence of God. Nothing made sense, everything I learned was into question, and I let go.
Not long later I was pregnant. I needed something to hold on to. I was nineteen, knocked up, and completely lost. I found peace at church, and chose to be baptized for the second time. Walking into the lake into the arms of two loving creatures was absolutely healing. They gently held my body, dunked me in the freezing water, and I was renewed.
Soon after I had my daughter I dated a woman, openly. I explored my sexuality, openly. Until this time in my life my encounters with the many women I loved had been secret and “wrong”. But this time everything felt different, because everything was possible. I wasn’t afraid of it anymore. Being with this woman was life changing. The world made sense and I somehow felt lighter, unaware I was even carrying weight prior to this. I am gay, I always was gay, and I’m going to share it. The God I learned about didn’t love gay people, so there cannot be a God because dammit I am lovable. Something that feels so right just CANNOT be wrong.
Now, years later, I realize the God I learned about as a young girl is dead for me. Everyone is taught about a different version, and we can’t believe everything we hear. I’m learning to inquire, to love and to know My God. I feel it in music. I feel it on a bench overlooking the lake. It’s in my daughters embrace. In the blessings that have come my way. During the moments I am pulled to exactly where I need to be. On the days the sun hits my skin in just the right ways. I can’t explain it, but I can feel it.
Navigating a new relationship with a higher power is complicated. But I am on the right path. Like I said, I can feel it in my bones.