June 30, 2016

And along about that time, I heard Bill Moyers say, "Coincidences are God's way of manifesting," and that lodged in me. That just really struck me and about that same time, I met Ted Turner and moved to Georgia-[laughs] Atlanta, Georgia!

When I need an answer, or I need someone to be helped, it's always the same: my hands in prayer position and my thumbs pressed against my third eye, my forehead...

Now, I had never lived in an environment where people went to church regularly and had a living faith. And I was, utterly fascinated because they were smart people, President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn and Ambassador Andrew Young and many others who were friends with Ted and people of deep faith. And I was married to Ted, a professed atheist, for ten years and for eight of those years, I spent a lot of time listening and talking and asking questions of these people.

By that time, it had come to feel like I was being led. It was a somatic feeling that I was being beckoned, and I often felt that there was a light drawing me. And I'm not a woo-woo kind of person! I'm not a New Age person. I grew up in the fifties. But it was a very powerful feeling.

What I realized writing my book was that I had been empty since adolescence. Whenever I try to figure out how to describe it, it always manifests for me in terms of emptiness. I feel like when I was an adolescent, and felt so unworthy of love and so empty, I moved outside of myself. Myself emptied out of myself. And what was left was a more perfect me that maybe people could love, and I wasn't going to show them the other part. And when you do that, you fill in the emptiness-well, it fills up with anxiety real fast, and to numb the anxiety you do many things. I suffered from eating disorders, and drinking, and you know, there are many ways of numbing it.

So if you leap almost 50 years later and I'm living in Georgia and I'm having this feeling of being led and I find myself so curious about this faith that these people all around me are practicing. I felt my emptiness being filled up with reverence.

This is the hunger that you talk about in the book-

Yes, yes.

--and finally that hunger is being satisfied.

With what I was really searching for all along. It was spiritual hunger. I was learning to be satisfied by spirit, [whereas before] I had been trying to satisfy the hunger with other things. And so, you know, like many people, I could have sort of settled with being spiritual.

You mean, settled with being spiritual, as opposed to becoming religious?

Correct. It would have just been meditation, but it became prayer.

I think it's partly that I live in Georgia; it's partly that it's my culture. You know, I wasn't attracted to Buddhism although I really respect it. I wasn't attracted to Islam although I really respect it. Or Judaism. I'm attracted to Jesus.

And so for a number of years, I thought, what am I going to do with this? I'm living with a man who I very much love and who is an atheist and who has called Christianity "a religion for losers" and yet, I'm feeling drawn.

Somebody in south Georgia, a very hostile person who doesn't like me at all, said, 'Have you been saved?' And I wasn't even sure what it meant, and I kind of tap danced around it 'cause he was hostile, and I didn't want to engage. But I then came back and I asked a friend of mine what did it mean, to her? And she said, "Well, to me, it meant going the next step." Well, boy, I mean, I'm a going-the-next-stepper! If there's a next step that can be taken, I'll take it. And so she had me read the Book of John and I was-I was experiencing grace at that time.