I've always known You were there. It's always been a given. However, I didn't always feel I could talk to You, or ask You for help.
That's one of the things that struck me about Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret: here was this girl who "didn't have" a religion, because one parent was Catholic and the other Jewish and they raised her as neither, but she had a much closer connection to You than I did. She talked to You all the time, and asked You stuff... and I didn't.
Then again, the Catholic Church isn't that keen on us talking to You directly. They want us to talk to You through them -- we go to confession and tell them what we did, and they tell us if You forgive us or not*. We're supposed to go to them to find out what the Bible says, instead of reading it for ourselves.
They also told me other stuff, that I'm sure they didn't mean to sound the way it came out. Perhaps they weren't counting on a 10-year-old trusting them and believing them so faithfully... who knows. Either way, they told me that You didn't like when people "put God in the closet, with moth balls, and only took Him out when they needed something." I didn't want to be one of those people. So I was scared to take You out of the closetand ask You for anything.
I didn't think I could talk to You.
I've started to get over that. This crisis has helped a lot. I have known for a while now (since I joined the Lutheran Church) that You don't hate me, and that You're not going to send me to hell. That's not the way You work; it just doesn't make sense.
I've known for a while now that I can talk to You, and that You like to hear from me. (And others.) But it was still hard. That shy-girl part of me, and the years of Catholic rule, still made me think I was not worthy of asking You for help.
But I can ask You for help now. And I know You are helping me. I know You're there.
Like this morning, when Unpleasant Student said goodbye to me in her snippy, unpleasant way, but You made me say, "Bye, have a good day" automatically, in an honest, pleasant tone, and then You let it just roll off.
You do have a twisted sense of humor sometimes, though. I guess being around for all Eternity would lead to quite a bit of boredom. Which is why the pen I grabbed this morning was leaking ink, staining my fingers black for the rest of the day (because it had to be during first period, didn't it?) And why somebody decided to slam my door shut during the passing period, who knows why (at least it was before my conference period, so I didn't need the door to be open). And why seventh period decided to -- well, You know. You were there.
I've been doing a lot of talking to You lately, but I've also been trying to listen. It's hard. I sure wish You weren't so cryptic.
Patience has never been one of my virtues. Neither has listening (who, me? Loudmouth? Bossy? ... Well, yeah). But I'm trying... I'll figure it out one of these days. (You'll help me, right?)
Thanks for chatting with me. And for, You know, being there.
*PS: they told me You did not. I know now that You don't work the way they told me You did, but I'm still bitter about it. I mean, who tells a 10-year-old she's going to hell???