After Daddy died, and the attacks began, I was sent to Bible Summer Camp, free, by our church. The children sang “Jesus Loves Me” along with the piano. When the song was done, I said, “Jesus doesn’t love me.”
I was sent to a room where I sat alone afraid, and was told to wait. A couple of teachers came in to talk to me about what I had said . Feelings of shame had already permeated from what brothers had done. These churchy do-gooders meant well, but did harm, cementing the shame permanently. So many times, those that meant well, did harm instead.
I felt as if I were being chastised and admonished. I felt terrified, small and bad. At the picnic afterwards I was more alone and ashamed that I’d ever known, as if everyone was talking, pointing and looking at me. That feeling never left, not until recent years.
I cannot believe in a God that preaches and punishes. I find that god resides within. She connects me to all others. She is Mother Earth. She is the angel above watching out for me. She is part of me, and you, and everyone. When I pray, I pray to that oneness, a power greater than me, and I believe in the power of prayer.