While pumping our tiny legs so our swings would soar, Debbie, my best friend in the whole world, announced at the top of her lungs that she was made in God’s image.
I guess the swing height triggered something that made her think of heaven.
“What about me?” I screamed in mid-air.
“You, too!” Debbie screeched with glee.
I waited until we were grounded to whisper in her ear.
“What’s an image?”
“You know, when you see yourself in the bathroom mirror.”
Debbie had to be right. After all her mama was a minister.
From my 6-year old perspective that meant God had pig tails and freckles and a birth mark on his right cheek!
It took me only one extra second to conclude that God must be like me in every other way, too.
That meant He loved bubble baths with squirt toys, jumped double-dutch rope and wore beaded lanyards made at day camp.
It also meant that, like me, God had strep throat on Tuesday.
I loved my view of God.
As you can see, it was pure and unaffected and made me giddy!
Then my grandmother spoiled everything and broke up my joy.
“Grandma, did you know that God looks just like me?”
She sighed and said, “Oy.”
A lot of Orthodox Jewish grandmothers did that.
Mine used it in every other sentence.
Then she explained to me that our God was coming.
It sounded like God was delayed like my dad always was on the evening train.
I got to thinking I better tell Debbie’s mama to wait on her evening prayers because God was running late and would not hear her.
When she told me her God was there with her all the time I figured she was either really confused or too old to notice that God wasn’t there yet, or she must have a different God than we were getting when ours finally got here.
I was confused enough, when my friend James came up to me on the monkey bars the next day and told me that Jesus was born Jewish and then wasn’t Jewish anymore and he didn’t know why and his mama didn’t tell him what happened.
My first religious seeds became rooted in a jumbled mishmash resembling a pot luck dinner.
It’s no surprise that when I unearthed a fossil, my teenage diary, it contained lingering questions and old musings.
If there was no Bible to explain how God wanted us to live our lives and what to believe in, would people automatically know what to do?
Who does God talk to on an overwhelming day?
If we were created in God’s image and there are so many people struggling with mental health issues, does that mean God, too, might have a mild form of anxiety like my mama?
What if the same person who said it was good luck if it rained on your wedding day otherwise it would be so depressing, is the same one who came up with these slogans when something bad happened?
“It’s God’s way”
“God has a plan”
“We don’t always understand the reasons behind God’s decisions; that’s why we have faith”
What if we were given one sneak peek at heaven as a kind of incentive so we knew how awesome it would be even if it meant messing up the whole idea of faith?
Then we would have something to work for and look forward to so if we veered off course we’d have motivation to get back on track.
Forty-two years have elapsed since that last entry.
I have witnessed God’s handiwork.
I have seen His mercy and His miracles.
I still have questions (grown-up versions of my kid ones).
However, one thing has never changed.
I am still giddy believing that on that one day long ago, God and I both had strep throat on Tuesday.