I have heard it said that our original conceptions of God are formed when we are children and influenced by those with whom we are in close relations – usually parents or grandparents. The characteristics and virtues our caretakers exude are observed and adopted subconsciously to form the power, authority, and “personality” of a deity.
My grandmother, who I called Mema, passed away at the age of 97, on Tuesday, November 25, 2014. She was born August 22, 1917, and lived nearly a century. She lived through the Great Depression, the Second World War and other notable conflicts. She married at 19 and stayed married to one man; she raised three children and helped raise seven grandchildren. She was devoted to God and her church, and was known throughout the town as a woman of dignity, grace and a good amount of spunk and quick wit.
At her memorial service, the pastor read from Proverbs 31: 10-31. He read about the qualities of a virtuous woman. He read and I remembered, he read and I cried. I didn’t cry out of sadness necessarily, but out of gratitude. My parents divorced when I was very young, and I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. I can never express the gratitude I have for them- for the example that they set, and for the subconscious truths I adopted based on their words and deeds.
I have witnessed some people, attempting a Second Step, having trouble. They have reservations about the “God idea”. They express concerns that God is not powerful, or that God is angry with them, or that God is not loyal, loving or kind. Perhaps in part due to the influence of my Grandmother, I never had any such reservations. When confronted squarely with powerlessness, I was ready, willing and able to conceive of and accept Power from a source greater than myself.
I never visited my grandmother’s house one time that I didn’t leave with more than I arrived. Whether it was food, clothing, money or just plain hope and joy, I was always enriched by her life and her presence. This truth is very analogous to my current relationship with my own Higher Power. Similar characteristics resulting in similar experiences…
Thank you Mema for showing me that word, and for preparing me to receive,many years later, the gift of Power in recovery. Virtuous, indeed. Godspeed.