I believe in God. Lots of people do. But I believe in a different sort of God than most of the people I know. And that doesn’t mean I don’t go to church. I’m there every week. But I can’t worship a God like the one I see in comic books, or on the Simpsons, or even the one that some people talk about in church. I don’t believe in a moody, deep-voiced, faceless God who manipulates us in the giant chess game of our lives. I believe in a God who gives high fives.
I believe that God laughs at the toddlers who shriek their heads off during church. I believe that God knows when I’m in a hurry and sometimes, makes every light green just for me. I believe that God’s pet peeves include misplaced piety, and those Saints’ paintings that make everyone look like a wet noodle.
I believe in a God who loves books, and everything in them, just like me. I picture myself communicating with Him sometimes, and the easiest way is for me to picture walking into a big leather library with all the books in the world. I sit down at His desk and tell Him exactly what’s on my mind. He is the wisest, kindest, most understanding version of every professor I ever had.
I believe that God loves art. And science. And irony. How else could you explain this outrageously madcap universe we live in? I believe that God sends me signs to say “calm down” or whatever it is I need to hear. Once He sent me an owl when I was out for a walk. She was huge and white and gloriously beautiful, and followed me for blocks. I forgot what I was angry about just like that. My second week in Hungary, when I was jet-lagged and frustrated and wondering why on earth I was there, He sent me a sunset, and an old lady who didn’t care that I was a frumpy foreigner who didn’t speak or understand her language. She just smiled and patted me on the arm as we watched the sun set from the bus stop.
I believe in a God who lets us make mistakes, who lets bad things happen. But I believe He doesn’t like to see it. Just like I couldn’t stand to hear my dog cry when I walked him after his hip surgery. But I knew if I didn’t walk him his hip wouldn’t heal right. I believe in a God like that.
When I was younger, whenever I accomplished something that made me proud, I would pat myself on the back. Literally, with my right hand on my left shoulder. But now, when I remember the real source of everything lovely and clever and fascinating in my life, I give credit to the real source. I hold up my hand and give God a high five.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.