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An Open Letter to God

Dear God,

Me and you have had a very tumultuous relationship over the years.

Growing up in that wooden church, I learned to sing your praises. I learned that you would always look out for me if I was faithful. I learned that you always had a plan, and that there was a reason for everything that happened to us. Even when I burned myself making grilled cheese for myself and my sister because no one was there to do it for us and the cereal was too high up even if I climbed onto the counter, I still believed you were watching over me.

Then I was raped. And my world was turned upside down. In that moment, I think I started to lose my faith in you. No child should ever feel that much rage or self-loathing. And I blamed you. What kind of god could let an 8 year-old go through that? So the day I spat on the cross at the altar of the church I had grown up in and said “fuck [your] plan” I meant it with every bit of my heart.

It’s funny (and in pathetic kind of way) but as many times as my relatives would tell me I was too young to lose faith in you, only one ever entertained the idea that this same logic meant I was too young to have faith in you. Maybe that’s part of why Rose and Mami were such a blessing. I spent hours talking to them about religion over the years and I slowly found myself adopting their beliefs as my own. My Nana, my devoutly Roman Catholic Nana, was the only person blood related to me who actually encouraged me forming my own ideas. I regret never telling her just how that meant to me.

At 16, I had learned some balance. I was finally starting to make friends again. I was finally starting to let the smiling mask drop. The trip to Italy, and in specific the Vatican that summer, that summer changed my life. The Sistine Chapel was impressive but it was St. Paul’s Cathedral that took my breath away. I remember kneeling as I listened to the Eucharist when out the corner of my eye I saw something amazing. On the other side of building were a man and woman, neither could have been much younger than 70, in wedding regalia. And after the call for prayer, the room was silent and for the first time I felt this was truly a sacred place. I came to realize something that day. Nothing truly uncaring could have something so heartbreakingly beautiful built in their name.

That day, for the first time since that horrible night after I had cleaned myself of blood and fluids as best I could, I cried. No sound was made but they sloped down my cheeks steadily. I opened my mouth and began something I had not done in 5 years. “Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos. Santificado sea tu nombre. Venga tu reino.” As I prayed I felt the woman sitting beside me lace her arm through mine and begin saying the Lord’s Prayer along with me. It didn’t happen overnight, but that day killed a majority of my resentment towards you.

Now here I am, little more than a month from Confirmation and I find myself increasingly hesitant. While I have come to care for each member of my congregation as members of my extended family some of the things they have said repulse me, their view of gay marriage being the most prevalent example.

How can I say that you only meant for romantic love to be between man and woman when the people I consider my parents were both women who had been together for a decade, raised a daughter, and made me who I am. When I mentioned this point, I was met with scandalized expressions. The worst point was when someone patted my hand and said although they did a great thing for me, they were still going to Hell.

I can’t pretend to agree, I respect these people far too much to do so. I also don’t want to leave because I feel like there is still good I can do there. Good I want to do.

I believe that Jesus had it right when he said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

I believe in affording everyone the common decency of being treated as human being should.

I believe that we all mess up and need help sometimes and that this is OK.

I believe that we all need other people in our lives. To laugh. To grieve. To simply be.

I believe that every promise we make should be as sacred as a pinky swear is to a child.

I believe that all religion and science are merely trying to find a meaning behind it all, thus the two are not mutually exclusive.

I believe that forgiving someone is hard but a worthy effort. Forgiving oneself is harder still.

I believe that music, and flowers, and the sound of a child’s laughter are all proof that there is something greater than ourselves in the world.

I believe that the family you are born into is essentially just a starting point.

I believe that sex should have meaning behind it, not necessarily marriage.

I believe that when we think we have given it our all, we should make one last push.

I believe that something as simple as a smile can brighten a day.

I believe that love is love, no matter the packaging.

So if it all the same to you, I think I’ll stick to these ideas. I know I’ll be condemned by some for them as they are “blasphemous”. As long as I’m sharing my beliefs, here’s a last one for the road.

I believe that as long as I know I have done what I know in my heart was right and stayed true to myself, that when I die and stand before you I can do so with pride as I know I lived well.



  1. bittycolour
    March 4, 2009 at 10:17 AM

    Wow. This was so unbelievably heartfelt and humble. And open. You showed how your faith in God doesn’t have to be molded, or torn apart, it can just come from you. It’s perfect!

    Thank you Ma’am. Now I just need to figure out how to explain this to the people who will inevitably ask why I’m backing out of Confirmation.

    It was so very hard to write this, as evidenced by the week it took to make it satisfactory.

  2. March 4, 2009 at 1:39 PM

    Religion is never something simple to struggle with. There’s no magic answer that can tell you what’s best or what’s right or what you truly need. But it’s clear that you still have some semblance of faith still intact, some bit of that belief system that you’ve molded and shaped to be your own set of values.

    I’m obviously not one to say “pick a religion and stick with it.” I think people can choose what to believe, what they feel is morally responsible and just, and yet still have that faith in a higher power without being constricted to one specific church.

    After all, in the end, none of us know which is “real” and which isn’t. Maybe it’s just about being yourself, being the best person you can be for your life, and seeing where it takes you in the end.

    I’ve lost my faith entirely before. Not a particularly pleasant time in my life. And you pretty much just put my feelings on the matter into a few sentences.

  3. March 4, 2009 at 2:21 PM

    Beautiful and honest. Thank you! I love the importance of a promise as a pinky swear is to a child. Great thought.

    Thank you Ma’am, when I trying to come up with a comparison I thought of my girlfriend’s daughter, making me pinky swear on going with her and her mom to see HSM3.

  4. March 4, 2009 at 6:47 PM

    This seriously just made my day. I think I’m going to have to regroup and leave a reply later; I’m a little overwhelmed by how beautifully written this is.

    Thanks Lady X, glad this could brighten someone’s day.

  5. March 4, 2009 at 10:49 PM

    i’m sorry you had to go through all of that as a child but i’m happy that you can still see the beauty in things.

    I’d be saddened greatly if I couldn’t.

  6. March 5, 2009 at 8:33 PM

    Thank you for sharing that. It sounds like you have had a chance to think through a lot of things. I think God appreciates your honesty and willingness to reflect and grow.

    I would hope He does. A teacher of mine in high school had a saying, “with age, comes perspective.” For all my maturity, I know I still have growing to do and probably always will.

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