Sunday, December 07, 2008

What She Believed

Last October, when my mom went all rock star on the conservative Virginian relatives, I found a folded up piece of lined notebook paper in my Granny's house.

Written on the outside fold, in my Granny's handwriting, were the words "My religious beliefs."

I read the note and shared it with my mother, my uncle, and my Aunts.

To me, reading it felt like a kind of gift.

My grandmother didn't keep a diary, not one that I know of anyway.

This note, her musing on faith, made me feel connected to her again...

[Which is, of course, what I want most of all.]

I typed up her note to capture it here for... I don't know what... for later... or maybe for always... something like that, anyway.

My grandmother was born in 1929 and these are her words.

My religious beliefs
Ann Meeler, 1929 - 2007

Do you believe in God?

No, not in the traditional, old man in heaven - a vindictive old man in a nightgown.

God was created by man in HIS own image - not the other way around - he's evolved but of man's need and we've transferred our human conditions and limitations to Him.

How can I believe or not believe in something that can't be defined?

But I do believe there is a finite reality of some sort - there is an ultimate of something - but I certainly find it's beyond ANY man's ability to comprehend.

Something that has no relation to what we call religion?

Yes, if by religion you mean a system of reward and punishment.

I (Ann) feel that more blood has been shed because of various creeds than anything else at all.

[Granny noted four Bible verses and I have added the text.]

Corinthians 1
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.

Psalm 39:4
LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days,
what it is: that I may know how frail I am.

Romans XIII 14
Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness,
not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not

provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

John XIV 1
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.

I believe, above everything else, in a just God.

I believe that at the end of our lives, or perhaps before, each of us will be dealt with justly.

I believe that the Holy Bible is God's law, but I believe that God's law may be written in other books -- in the Talmud -- or the Koran and in others.

I believe that God's law is also written in the stars and the stones of the Earth and in the hearts of men.

I believe that God gave each of us a mind and that he expects us to use it.

I believe that each human being has a right to interpret scriptures according to his own conscience but that he should expect to be judged on his interpretation.

I believe that God expects us to question each of the teachings of the Bible and to decide for ourselves how they apply to us.

Too many people that say they believe the Bible exactly as it's written - let's call them fundamentalists - but I find they are, each and every one, awfully particular about what passages they select!


QT said...

I just can't find anything here to disagree with, my friend.

Shannon said...

I see why you love her so much - she has the kind of wisdom that carries through ages....

Lisa Milton said...

I like your Granny. I'm glad you stumbled on her words, something to hold on to.

flutter said...

what an amazing thing to find

carrie said...

That certainlyis a gift, and you are so lucky to have it and there are not words to thank you for sharing that with us here, there are no words so I'll use hers:

"I believe that God's law is also written in the stars and the stones of the Earth and in the hearts of men."

That, is perfect.

SUEB0B said...

You come from smart people.

JCK said...

Your granny was special. What a most amazing find/treasure for you!

mo.stoneskin said...

I wasn't sure whether the points at the end were yours, or your Granny's! I'm probably being really dumb.

Assuming that those points are at the end of Granny's note, I find it interesting that she wrote "God was created by man in HIS own image" but also "I believe, above everything else, in a just God".

I personally feel that a God created by man wouuld not be a just one.

But having said that, it is possible I've misunderstood, those end points being yours, and there are also some pearls of wisdom there.

Glad you posted.

jeanie said...

What a profound and beautiful gift she has left you.

Really, so many gifts.

kittenpie said...

I found myself nodding along adn thinking we could have been friends. No wonder you loved her so - more than just any relative. She was an interesting lady, I'm guessing, because for a woman to write that in the 20s is pretty ahead of her times.

Vodka Mom said...

okay, so that was damn long.

However, it was damn good.

Aprylsantics said...

I wish I had been able to learn how my grandparents thought about things. They died before I had the capacity to care.

Merrily Down the Stream said...

Mmmmm... what a lovely thing to find. Thanks for sharing it.

Mary G said...

Your grandmother was a woman I would love to know. Thanks for sharing this.

CM said...

I love this -- and what a gift to find it, all folded up in her house!

I wonder what motivated her to write this? It doesn't sound like random musings -- it sounds very carefully thought out.

Cricky said...

Your Grandmother was a brilliant woman. Those are words to live by.

Sugarplum's Mom said...

"Too many people that say they believe the Bible exactly as it's written - let's call them fundamentalists - but I find they are, each and every one, awfully particular about what passages they select!"

She nailed it right there with that one. I would have loved to have her for a granny. You are very lucky.

Hairline Fracture said...

Wow, your Granny was very wise.

Angella said...

I absolutely love this.

Random Thinker said...

It is always a pleasure to read something that has been deeply thought through. Your granny's note is a gem that way.

To answer mo.stoneskin, your granny was talking of two gods- one is a God of man's concept and another is God who really is. God of man's concept is limited by man's imagination and "was created in man's own image" and thus cannot be just. God who really is, is beyond comprehension and can be just.

Honeybell said...

Amazing and lovely. Thank you for sharing it.

Velma said...

Wow. Just, wow.

Little Monkies said...

You need to do a "This I believe" piece on this...or you need to track down the traveling sound booth and have a conversation with your mother for the NPR radio show (what is the name of it, it's the one where people tell their incredible!)

Anyway, your granny's insights need to be shared with a wider audience.


Redneck Mommy said...

I wish I knew her.

Your Gran sounded like a woman I could easily love.

Just like you.

Miss you my naked booby friend.