God works in mysterious ways. But, so does my friend Da’Rayvelle Crenshaw who wears bolo ties and eats the entire sunflower seed–shell and all.
It’s Sunday. For me, growing up, Sundays were pretty much about one thing only–Springdale Church of God In Christ. Springdale COGIC was this big, white, rickety wooden structure on Austin’s east side on Springdale Road. Every Sunday a bunch of us black folks (and the occasional off-beat-clapping visitor from “off the street”) would send that rattletrap sanctuary throbbing and swaying with our singing and shouting and hallelujah-spouting!
And when I say us I mean them. I wasn’t much into the whole God/Jesus/Worship affair. For me, that entire religious experience–which went on for pretty much my entire childhood–was grueling. The scary speakings in tongues, the bible drills and 6-hour sermons about eternities in hell, the dramatic baptisms and communions…it just wasn’t my thimble of grape juice.
Not to mention we had to be up at the crack of dawn every Sunday for Sunday School and back to church every Sunday evening right before the ABC Sunday Night Movie of the Week came on. I never got to see “Brian’s Song” all the way through.
I don’t regret not loving my religion. My mom was sharing with me a route to God she treasured and loved, and I love her for that. It simply didn’t work for me. Now that I’m older, though, I’m wishing I had a stronger relationship with God. I have a sense of what God is to me–much less media’s humanoid with a big, blaring, booming voice and more of a kind and gentle moving spirit. I see God as a part of the universe–possibly Universe itself. I believe God is this divine source of electricity we can plug into that gives us the energy and power we need to get through our lives. That’s just what I believe. It’s how I can make sense of it for me.
The trick is staying plugged in to that source when times are good. And when times are bad. How do I stay connected to God when my body or my heart or my head hurts? When I’m confused or afraid? When I’m angry? I know, those are the times I should be duct-taping the end of my spiritual extension cord directly into God’s throat. But I forget. And I try to go it alone. And it doesn’t really work.
Right now, I’m reading Imamaculée Ilibagiza’s “Left To Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust.” After that, I’ll read Dr. Wayne Dyer’s little book, “Getting in the Gap: Making Conscious Contact with God Through Meditation.” I’m sure other books like these will follow; I didn’t love going to church growing up, but The Holy Bible is actually a compelling read, so maybe I’ll revisit some of the books in it.
And no, New Charlotte is not becoming a holy roller. Holy rollers don’t drink whiskey all that much, I don’t think, so I’m pretty sure you won’t see me hittin’ the block with many of them. But, I’m fairly certain I can’t get where I’m trying to go alone.
It would be so nice, though, if all of it were much less mysterious. I mean, God is all-powerful, right? Can’t he just, like, lay it all out clean and clear for us while we’re at Sunday School so we can kick back Sunday night with our cheese puffs and Pepsi-Cola, James Caan and Billy Dee? Works for me.
Til next time!