Officially, my religious affiliation is “None.” The number of religious services I attended growing up could fit on my fingers with enough left over for a peace sign. I never officially learned about the Bible, did not study religion, and was not baptized. I did not marry my husband in a church. My parents never tried to teach me anything biblical—save, perhaps, for a very secular version of the “Golden Rule.” I’ve managed to go through life almost completely ignorant of the specifics of religion besides what I picked up on in popular culture or by schoolyard gossip. I hardly know a Catholic from a Protestant, let alone the belief systems of other world religions. They are, after all, legally required to NOT teach us this stuff in most schools.
But I’m not I’m an atheist. In fact, I hunger for spirituality, which is why I’ve started visiting places of worship.
At the church, I encounter a peculiar demonstration that the minister says is something, “he’s trying out.” In a quiet spot in the main sanctuary, he has placed three chairs, inviting us to take a respite. A short tutorial explaining “How to talk to God” hangs on the wall.
I take a seat because I’ve been curious about this exact thing. How does one talk to God? Is it just a matter of the little voice in my head having a one-sided conversation? (As suggested by Judy Blume to a generation of young girls: “Hello, God, it’s me, Margaret”). The instructions don’t advise anything like this; they simply say, “Listen to God’s presence in the events of our lives.” The text elaborates, but only slightly: “We experience Christ reaching to us through our memories. Our own personal story becomes salvation history.” Can this really be true? Is God hiding in my memories?
~ Corinna Nicolaou