Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Conversations with Heaven: 'Hey, God, it's me'

Last weekend, I attended the annual Memorial Service at my home church in Eudora. Every year, our church remembers members of the church family who passed away during the year. A candle is lit and a prayer said for each of the dearly departed.

I wasn't there when the church started.

The service is followed with an old fashioned covered dish dinner consisting of scrumptious casseroles, fried chicken, and Southern-style vegetables. The meal is concluded by a trip to the desert table overflowing with homemade pies and cakes. It is such a delicious occasion.

The church in the valley:

This year, my Aunt Jean served as the keynote speaker and reminisced about growing up in the Eudora Presbyterian Church. She admitted believing as a girl her weekly church offering was taken to Heaven by way of a big ladder outside the church.

Aunt Jean received roaring laughter as she described her mission to catch the church’s treasurer in the act of delivering her money to God.

God's ladder?

Isn’t it amazing what is conjured in the imaginations of children?

Growing up, I believed that God only heard my prayers and no one else’s. I considered God my friend and confidant – telling him all of my secrets and hopes and shame. I didn’t need to have a silly imaginary friend; I had God.

As a child, I was saturated in Christianity. I attended Catholic school. I attended my Presbyterian Sunday school class weekly and Bible school every summer. Momma taught Sunday school for high school students, and I tagged along on retreats, field trips, and youth fellowship. Daddy was a member of the session and was extremely active in the administration of the church. When the doors were open, we were there.

These doors:
I was introduced to God at a young age, and from that, I felt a kinship with him. I can’t even count the many nights I spent soaring on my swing set while chatting with God. I literally filled him in on my day (like he didn’t already know) and discussed pressing decisions like Christmas wishes and birthday party guest lists.

Author Haven Kimmel wrote in her memoir, Girl Named Zippy, that she developed a crush on Jesus as a child – well, Jesus and Telly Savolis. So, obviously, I am not alone in this.
One can only imagine the one-sided conversations between me and the Almighty.

“Hey, God. It’s me. I didn’t do very well on that spelling test. I know we went over it all last night, but I just couldn’t remember. I know you are disappointed.”

I confessed.

“God, I was the one who left the gate open. I know I should have told Daddy it was me, but he was so mad. I never knew horses would eat azaleas.”

Granddaddy on Merry Golden Boy aka Goldie
I also would privately plot with God to punish everyone who wronged me.

“God, my sister was mean to me again,” I said. “I think you should do something about her because she is completely out of control. Not that I am telling you what to do, but she should really punished. Whatever you think she deserves. I have some suggestions….”

When nothing happened, I figured God was just waiting for the right time to enact revenge. Eventually, I forgot and move on to another unforgivable offense.

“God, I need your help again. She just won’t stop being mean to me. You need to do something that will teach her a lesson.”

Wasn’t I a silly child?

Despite a hardening of spirit over the years (we all become jaded with age), I have held onto my kinship with God – in a less naive manner. My prayers are still in the form of a conversation, and I still rely on him to direct me in the right path.

I had one of “our” conversations just last night. “Okay, God. Whatever you think I should do, I will do. Just let me know when the time comes.”

Funny thing is he still lets me know – just a little more subtly.

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