Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sestina, In Search of God

- 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.]

No comments:

Post a Comment