My feelings about religion can be considered mired in memories too dark for the general public I believe. My mother used to say/sing that all the time. "This is the day the Lord has made...let us rejoice and be glad in Him."
And...depending on the mood my father was in, the day could be beautiful but often times...it was fucking fear filled horrible.
Whenever she was dealing with something, you'd see her refer to her bible. Either the pocket one or the big one that was dogeared and highlighted with scribblings of understanding written in the margins. She took the scripture of the bible to heart. Or...at least the ones she identified with. The rest, she just gently skipped over. Being the smartazz I've always been, I'd ask her about those more difficult to justify passages, especially the ones about women and she'd either get mad because she really couldn't answer or because I dared to question the bible.
My mother's entire life seemed to be waiting for the day to come when God would reward her for her stewardship. Me? I was more like Sophia even as a kid.
Celie: This life be over soon. Heaven lasts always.
Sophia: You should bash Mista's head open and think about Heaven later!
I found it difficult to put together a God who loves me but would allow me to have to deal with unspeakable abuse. I found it difficult to love and/or believe in a God who would make it so that my voice was expected to be silent. I found it difficult to value a God who was okay with women and children living under the constant threat of violence in their own home.
So, it was with that eye that I developed my religious beliefs because I do have them...I'm just not all absolute with the theories of an omnipotent God who could do anything but...only when he felt like it. Who is always on time because sheesh...I couldn't go a moment longer even though I went for YEARS, DECADES EVEN dealing with the situation.
I began to fixate on my faith and what I think it meant. I disallowed other voices and focused on my version of what I needed it to all mean/be. Because I knew I needed that spiritual guidance my mother had that could bring her the most blissful peace even when her personal hell on Earth was happening.
I remember once going out for a family outing. We packed up the van and mounted all the bikes and took off for a park in an area my dad loved. You could hike along a water front and then barbecue in the park part. There were bike paths. The day was stunningly beautiful and we looked like that happy family that parents with their kids always look like when everyone is neat and clean. Smiling and laughing.
My mother prepared the food and we laughed while eating swatting flies away from our food.
It was a good fricking day.
I don't remember exactly what was said that was taken the wrong way and I've come to realize that it's part of my coping skills that I don't remember all the details. I remember the day. I remember the happy. I remember the smiles. I remember racing my father on bikes. I remember my mother's hair. An awesome as hell azz afro with a natural sheen that Angela Davis would have fist bumped. I remember my brother's white tube socks with the red stripes.
And I remember the thunder and the clouds which enveloped us that weren't of the weather's doing. I remember the cloak of fury sitting on all of us like a heavy weight as we sat in the van headed back home.
I remember getting out and I remember him grabbing the green Coleman aluminum cooler and taking it out of the van.
And I remember watching that switch flip inside of him in slow motion as he dropped it, unable to contain his rage one second longer.
I remember his fist in her beautiful afro...dragging her.
And just like that...I can't remember any more that immediately followed. I tucked inside of my mind and, I'm sure, continued on as usual. Unpacked the van. Read a book. Listened to music. Waited.
At a young age I, oddly, felt more comfortable with the screams and the yelling because the silence was ominous. My imagination never allowed me to tuck in when there was silence.
I always expected her death it seems. I always expected the silence.
The next morning, things were as normal. No matter how early I got up, she'd already be up. Sitting in the black rocking chair with the gold etching at the top and along the grooves. With her bible. And she'd look up and still be beautiful even with the obvious signs of a beating that a grown man three times her size would crumble from. She'd smile and I'd sit in her lap and she'd say...
"This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in Him."
That's some powerful ish right there.
In my old age, my spirituality means something completely different than it did to my mother. I've made my peace with it by piecing together leasons I could see in action. Do right by people. Be of service. Be of comfort when you can. But take no shit and speak your mind.
It's just as powerful.
Hey yall. I'm back. :)