Friday, April 14, 2017

You say cult like it's a bad thing...

When she was younger she thought everyone heard God speak to them. After all people in church prayed, which is supposed talking to God. The minister said you should ask God for help and He would answer. Everyone acted like they talked to God. But she learned pretty early on that for most people He didn't talk back.

Her parents took her to a child psychiatrist when what they thought of as her imaginary friend didn't go away. Her psychiatrist recommended that she be institutionalized when it became apparent to her that the child must be some sort of psychopath. After all she had some how found out very personal and private details about her life that no child should have had access to. It was especially troubling when the child insisted that God told her the information.

Once when she was 8 or 9 she thought she had found the answer. She was watching an old TV show where someone was getting radio transmissions through their teeth. Maybe all along that's what had been happening. She was disabused of that answer fairly quickly when God pointed out that 1. She didn't have any fillings and 2. This wasn't some sort of random radio program speaking.

It was pretty annoying at times. He really liked to talk. Like really liked to talk. And He would change his voice depending on his mood. She normally heard him as a He but sometimes He was a She. Usually He spoke English but sometimes He switched it up a bit. When she took Spanish in high school he stopped speaking English and only spoke Spanish to help her study. And there was that really annoying time the first year of college where He spoke ancient Aramaic just to show off.

Oh yeah, God was a huge show off. He probably couldn't even help it, but the whole, "like that? I made that" thing got old at times. And yes, she was very aware that her casual relationship with Him struck a lot of people as blasphemous. But you could not live with His voice in your head all day every day and not feel more casual toward Him. Everyone speaks like He is always with them, but if you've had food poisoning and He still won't shut up for a minute so you can sit on the pot miserable but in peace, well, you know He's always with you.

She learned to live with it though. After the incident with the child psychiatrist she and her parents had a little conference with God and they worked things out. After all she had been a miracle baby. Her parents had not been able to have children until her mother had gone old school and prayed and promised she would dedicate any child she had to God. Then she got pregnant. When God reminded her mother of that promise (which she had never told anyone, not even her husband) she realized that her daughter's imaginary friend wasn't so imaginary after all.

So her parents knew she talked to God and God talked to her. And they helped her to understand that unless she wanted to get in to a lot of sticky situations she might want to keep some of the things he said quiet. Though they did finally have to stop going to church when the constant refrain of, "never said that, didn't mean it that way, who do you people think I am?" got to be too much for her to be able to focus on the sermons.

She hadn't intended to start a cult either. It had just sort of happened. Though she kept a lot of what He said quiet, she didn't keep all of it to herself. And after awhile it wasn't even just Him speaking, it was who she was. She got a reputation for being a calming voice in tense situations. For knowing the right thing to say to bring comfort to those who were wounded. The perfect way to speak to someone to bring them back from the edge of chaos. And after she spoke with someone they would bring someone else to talk to her. And then they would bring someone else. And eventually she was speaking to large groups of people everywhere she went. And those people were following her to her next stop.

They took her advice on what to do with their lives. They spent their money on helping others. On making the world better. Through food, clothing, houses, sure, but also through art and science and teaching. And then one day a newspaper article came out about her cult. That people were treating her as some sort of messiah. And when the reporter called she said it really depended on your definition of messiah. Did they mean like THE MESSIAH the one that was supposed to save the world or did the mean A messiah as in one that God anoints to speak on His behalf? Because she was not THE for sure, but she felt there was a good case for being a.

That didn't go over so well.

Suddenly she was the leader of a cult.

Churches preached against her.

Parents worried about her brainwashing their children.

The IRS got involved.

Of course nothing ever came from any of the investigations. Well not nothing. Always a few more converts. They would start out wanting to expose her and end up exposing themselves, so to speak.

She still spoke to large groups. She still offered guidance and counseling to those that sought it out. But she was getting older. And she was tired. And she really just wanted a break. But it didn't happen. God assured her she would speak for Him until her dying breath. She answered, "oh joy." He laughed. At least He had a sense of humor about her blasphemy.

Today she was cleaning her kitchen while a younger convert visited with her. The third time she straightened the jars on the shelf to get them exactly right the teen said, "You're a little OCD aren't you?"

"A little."

"Have you asked Him to fix that for you?"

She laughed at that. "Well since it's His fault I'm like this I don't think He feels there is anything to fix."

"What do you mean?"

"I could get deep and philosophical with you about how each of us is unique and brings our own perspective to the world. And that we shouldn't be trying to fix other people when we ourselves still need work. But instead I will tell you the truth. Or my truth. I'm a little crazy."

The teen looked shocked. "Crazy?"

"Yes. Crazy. You cannot live with the voice of God in your head all of the time and not be a little crazy." God laughed. The teen didn't. "It's okay to laugh. I've dealt with it. But cherish the time that you have alone with your thoughts. Don't ever let people tell you that being by yourself is wrong. It's a blessing. It really is."

As the teen packed her books and headed out she smiled, "I needed to hear that."

She smiled. Of course she did. God had told her to say it. She thought, what was that about? God replied, "She was feeling a little pressure to go along with something because she was afraid to be alone. She just needed a reminder that alone can be better." She thought to herself, and to God, I wouldn't know about that. God laughed again, "Someday you are going to hurt my feelings talking like that."

She rolled her eyes and thought, how does one hurt the feelings of the great and powerful Oz? God laughed again. "Oh Lord it's hard to be humble..." And this time she laughed as well.

It was His fault she was crazy. But it was His blessing she was never alone.

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