Diaries of the Breadman’s Daughter: Sometimes It Can Be Awkward.

boo posing awkwardly in white communion dress with white bible in front of floral curtains.

The day that I had the epiphany, that ‘ah ha!’ moment after reading Eric Weiner’s article in The New York Times, I got to thinking about when this whole thing began.  Not the world beginning, that big bang thing or whatever it was that started what is commonly known as life.  I’m talking about something far more personal.  I’m talking about my life with God – and when that all began.

I wish I could say it started in the womb and that I had these primordial memories of being in heaven and sitting on God’s lap, but it didn’t.  Or if it did I don’t remember so that doesn’t count.  The best I can recall is that this ‘relationship’ (and I use the term loosely, at least in this context) began in elementary school.

Little back story.  Until this juncture I don’t recall being from a terribly religious family.  We celebrated Christmas (with presents under the tree and a turkey with cranberry sauce) and Easter (with ham and scalloped potatoes, new shoes and an awkward photo op.)  But we also celebrated Thanksgiving (with mashed potatoes, turkey with cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie instead of presents), and Birthdays (no turkey, no cranberry sauce, no pumpkin pie but a galaxy of presents for the special one of the hour.)  So throughout the year there were many celebrations and it was hard to tell which ones, if any, had religious affiliations.  It was confusing at best, given the abundance of delicious food and divine presents attached to every one of these celebrations that took place at 204.

Anyway, my best guess is ‘it’ all began sometime in early elementary school when I hooked up with S and T and we became the three Musketeers, a nickname coined by T’s father, who was the manager of the local movie theater. It could have been worse. We could have ended up the Three Stooges.

They both went to church, as did many of my other classmates.  I did not. This made me feel bad.  Inferior. Flawed.  Unworthy of God’s favor, whatever that meant.  To not feel bad, or worse yet, to not be a blemished cursed sinner I approached my parents with the notion that we go to church.  At least this is what I recall.  I probably didn’t.  It was most likely their idea, but this is my take.  Besides, I’m too old to have clear memories, and that was a long long time ago.  But we’re talking about God and He/She forgives the forgetter.

Of my parents, oddly enough, it was The Old Man who had the closest connection to what would be considered organized religion. He was a Finlander and there was some sort of ancestral connection to Lutheranism.  Ma may have been Anglican as a child but that affiliation was long gone and best forgotten.  Her connection to religion was unorganized, I suppose.  So off we went to Christ Lutheran Church.

Thus began my indoctrination into the Christian faith.

Diaries of the Breadman’s Daughter: Letters to God.

The thing about God is.  No one knows for sure. Really.

I read this article in The New York Times by Eric Weiner called Americans: Undecided About God.  Weiner so eloquently writes that the national conversation about God “has been co-opted by the True Believers, on the one hand, and Angry Atheists on the other.”  He asks,  “what about the rest of us?”   Weiner calls these folks the Nones.  Nones doesn’t do it for me.  I think of myself as an Other.  Don’t ask me why.  It’s just kind of the way I am. But regardless of the moniker – Nones or Others –   I agree with Weiner, we haven’t been a part of this conversation.  We’ve been this tight-lipped group who shied away from any discussion, even remotely religious, like sheep about to be sheared and left standing naked in the field.  Awkward.  Embarrassing.  Uncomfortable.  Skin-crawly. To say Weiner’s article resonated with me is an understatement.  It got me thinking.  Then it inspired me.  And then I felt like having a conversation about None Other than God.

Little back story.  For the past twenty years I’ve been writing these letters to God.  Some people, far more intellectual or spiritual, or hip to this pursuit than I, call this “Journaling.” I call it writing letters in spiral bound Hilroy notebooks.  Nothing terribly fancy.  But organized.  And to prove that these are letters, not emails or memos, or blogs to the Big Guy in the Sky, they all begin “Dear God” and end “Love, Me.”  In my world that constitutes the basics of Letter Writing 101.

I write one almost every day.  Except on the weekends.  I do other things.  Like grocery shopping.  Errand running.  Movie watching.  I relax and generally do everything I can to break the Monday to Friday routine. Basically I laze around and waste time.  Even God rested on the seventh day.

Box of Letters to God

After reading the New York Times article it occurred to me that after twenty years of writing almost daily to God, I must have something to say about the topic.  I’m an “Other.”  Typically when it comes to religion I keep my opinions to myself. Unless in the company of other “Others.”  Then I might say something provocative like “no one really knows for sure do they?”  Even that comment is plagued with doubt.  Ends in a question mark, implying uncertainty.  Not a definitive, confident period.

This blog is about all things God – big and little g.  It’s about wonder.  And awe.  And marvel.  About where we came from and where we’re ultimately going.  Not only in the big cosmic sense but in the small personal close to your heart way too.  All are welcome here – Others and everyone else.  Just open your heart.  And bring your head.