I was raised Roman Catholic and went to church almost every Sunday when i was little, despite my dad not really being very involved in religious matters and my mother having a rather hippie-esque, Native American spirituality about her.
Church was a bore, and none of us really liked the “sermons.” My mother always taught me that you didn’t have to be in a church to “find” god. That he was everywhere. In a blade of grass. In the wind. Inside an anthill.
There became a clear dichotomy between my mother’s vision of God and the church’s. So as I grew, I carried with me her vision and then added to it, almost completely ditching organized religion.
I got heavily involved in Prince’s music when I was about 16 and if anyone remembers what he was about it’s no surprise to know I grew up the way I did. He was a master at combining sex, love and god…and he soon replaced my mother’s more earthly vision and the church’s with one of sex and lust. God soon became synonymous with men and pleasure and music and sexual freedom.
At about this time, believe it or not, God was a HUGE part of my life. I became very disgusted with the long line of men that i had been with my Senior year of high school and wanted to become a nun. Well, not entirely. The nun thing brought me to an all-girl’s catholic school where I was very unhappy. But i did want and had a close relationship with God during this time. It was then that he watched over me. It was then that everything that happened to me was God’s will. Or God’s doing. I prayed a lot. I read the Color Purple. I wrote to God all the time. I was in love.
I left college and i went to Paris and lived there on my own. I never really met any man that ended up being significant while there (very strange for me) and yet, it was the best time of my life. Sure, i had little affairs here and there; romantic flings halfway up the Eiffel tower and such. But again, nothing major. What i did have were several INCREDIBLY significant moments of being healed and watched and cared for by God. I specifically remember this one time where I was lost and all alone and scared, unable to get home and suddenly I realized I needed to follow the light. That that was God’s way of saying, I’ve got you Tracy. Just follow me. I did. And i arrived at my doorstep by merely following the sunlight!
My time in Paris (I was 21 at the time) was possibly the only time in my life that i can honestly say i EVER loved something more than a man. I loved the city. I loved the language. I loved the freedom. I loved the people I met. The literature I was reading. I even loved that i suffered and was alone. I felt God was with me the ENTIRE TIME I LIVED THERE (5 months). After this trip my life took a serious turn…I moved back home. I quit school. I gave up God. I gave up hope. I wanted nothing more than a boy friend to save me. I would live the rest of my life looking for that sensation and that truth of Paris and God– not in the right place (me), but in the wrong place (men)…
God gave up on me too at this point. I continued to travel, unsettled. Lived in odd places doing odd things like bartending in Greenland. Eventually, I turned to science and education and never really pushed myself to do better for myself. There was never any more significant moments of feeling God’s presence in my life. And soon enough, i became a disbeliever.
Later in life, I was able to separate RELIGION and GOD and know that they were two separate things. I also came to realize that there were and are MANY paths to God. I have tried a few times, half-heartedly to get that “feeling” back but was never able to do so. In the end, i settled on Jungian philosophy, Buddhism and Taoism. ANd my view of God then became not so much some “one” who answers prayers or watches over me, but rather, some “thing” of a spiritual nature that allows a person to succeed or fail on their own via their own psychology. I also began to see Christ as a great literary symbol as well as the forces of good and evil. The God from my youth, the pure savior who always rescued His damsel in distress (me), was just a character in the fiction of my life.
I replaced that good, wholesome God feeling with what I got from men instead. It worked for me. It still does sometimes. And yet…it is Empty and abandons me where God’s love was full and constant.
I have never been angry, per se, with God. But I have been somewhat apathetic. I gave up on Him and He gave up on me. We kinda haven’t really talked in a long time. I now feel that it is almost impossible to re-develop a relationship with him in the traditional sense. But i have Hope.
A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man should have to seek Him first to find her. –Maya Angelou