- Bobbie Benson, October 2004
I spent a lifetime trying to figure our God.
He was all tangled up in the emotions I felt for my grandmother.
I was a doubter from early on and would search
for proof that he existed. “Move my Easter basket,” I would whisper
in prayer, “from the dresser to the floor. Then I can laugh
your name out loud to all nonbelievers in this state.”
But it never happened. It left me in a state
of confusion. I also felt that God
had no sense of humor. I didn’t hear him laugh
in Calvary Baptist Church, the one that grandmother
and I went to. We always had to be reverent and whisper.
How was I allowed to find the truth if I couldn’t search?
My sister and I used to watch Search
for Tomorrow and then we’d read our daily devotional that stated
it was a sin to watch TV. “Grandma,” I’d whisper,
“Reverend Bacon was so mean to Mrs. Gibbs, yet would God
think I was a sinner more than Reverend Bacon?” Grandmother
shrugged her shoulders. “It’s not my place to judge or laugh.”
The fact that all the nonbelievers in Africa were going to hell was not a laughing
matter to me. I’d search
the Bible for some proof that grandmother
and Reverend Bacon must be wrong. Can you live in a state
of grace and condemn others to eternal damnation? “God
was a just God,” I’d whisper
to my sister. Grandmother would scold, “It’s a sin to whisper.
You don’t want others to feel excluded.” Thank God it’s not a sin to laugh.
If it had been intended that we not have joy in this life, why would God
have created so many joys to behold? The search
for these truths left me in a state
of bewilderment. How could I love my grandmother
so much and yet have a grandmother
that believed with such unwavering faith? I’d whisper
my prayers to God and ask him to deliver me to a state
of pure acceptance. It would never last for long. I’d laugh
at some absurd contradiction that presented itself in the Bible and search
for a way to help grandmother understand that I believed in God
or some supreme being and that I certainly believed in grandmother but that the
institution of church whispered
hypocrisy to every state in the union. I told her that I would continue to laugh
and search and surely I was loved by God.
[Note: This poem by Bobbie Benson was originally posted by her in November 2007.]