I was in elementary school in the 1960s. Things were much different then than they are today. Each morning we’d read a Psalm, sing a song – I specifically remember singing We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder , and then say the Pledge of Alliance. In those days they, being teachers and parents, made YWHW out to be a grumpy old man with a long white beard glowering down from heaven waiting, just waiting, for a child to do something wrong so that he could strike him or her with a vengeance. It kept us in line.
In junior high my mother put me in the Rainbow Girls and put my brother in DeMolay. She was a social climber. I also took ball room dancing. And we went to the Unitarian Church. The Rainbow Girls had a ritual involving reading Genesis 9:13 – 15 (KJV)
13I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. 14And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: 15And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
I was starting to get interested in reading more about what the bible had to say. Interestingly enough, as I look back upon my early life I can see that as soon as I began drawing close to YWHW something would happen to divert my attention. For instance I was walking from the kitchen/dining room to the hall in order to get to my bedroom when I stubbed my foot on the baseboard (ever done that? ouch!). I was crying from the pain. Mother looked at me coldly and said, ” God just punished you for something you did wrong. I don’t know what that was, but I’ll find out.” She was mean like that.
(Sidebar: I had a rotten childhood with an abusive mother, but I got over it and forgave her, so don’t think that I am dragging the abuse around with me day by day like so many do.
A few months before my mother passed from this earth to the next place for her, she asked me, “Was I a good mother?” She had sadness in her voice, so she already knew the answer.
“No,” I said, “you were abusive, you beat me.”
Trying to justify herself, that was what she did justify her actions, she said, “But I beat D (my brother) too.”
“Yes you did,” I told her, “and you would look at him and say, ‘if you cry I’ll beat her harder.’ That answers the question, doesn’t it, of why we don’t like each other.”
I went on. “On the other hand, you had a daughter that died, and so, how could you know how to love when that hurt you so deeply.”
And in that exchange forgiveness was given and received. )