Forrest, the Ultimate Spiritual Leader


Things with God and I started off a little rocky. I remember my mom saying I did not want to go to hell, that I sat on her lap, told her this, ready to accept Jesus into my heart at four. I do remember not wanting to go to hell.
I wasn’t quite sure how he was going to physically come into my heart, foot or head first, but if it was going to keep my flesh from burning, and demons from gobbling me up well, I was willing to take the risk. I was never a dumb kid. I knew I would be the first to go, so thank God, I was in Baptist land and not the religion where only a few hundred thousand get in, even though I am still a little suspicious heaven sounds that awesome. Lions and lambs lying together on streets of Gold in harmony? Meeting up with grandmas and uncles you didn’t even like alive? Really? A trip to Vegas sounds a lot more fun. Then, as all kids who decide not to burn in hell forever, there is this ritual where you are publicly dunked in a big bowl of water for proof. Everyone clapped and I got cake.
I tried to love it, really I did, especially for my mom, who cried every Sunday, tears running down her face from the hymns, her faith big and golden, “rainbowic,” the name I just made up for it, but I felt like a total fraud. Every time they played “Just as I am,” I went down and got saved again, hoping the preacher wouldn’t feel bad.
Plus, I was starving. It was the beginning of me questioning organized religion, something I always have done, but at the same time, I was always aware of this presence so much greater than me, unexplainable, like a tap on my shoulder when even church people were nowhere to be found, and I must say it was confusing as hell.
And He was always changing his mind about big important stuff for a little girl.
One day, He would tell mom I was supposed to move schools, or not go to camp, or wait till I was married to some “spiritual leader,” a boy pointed out by all the approving church officials, with pimples, trying to have sex with me in the parking lot. Oh, and we were supposed to have these “messages,” because we were “saved” and the non believers needed us. Well, it seemed to me, at least from the back of our childhood van, you pass more churches in the South than you do nail salons and gas stations combined, so how the word wasn’t getting out, I wasn’t sure.
I love the church messages to this day. Seriously, they are hysterical and I wish I were undercover, just to see what the meetings are like when they come up with this stuff. They are clever, in a warped kind of clever, wrapped in good intentions, like, “You think it’s hot here? GOD.”
Not to mention the messages for Christ I had acquired by eighth grade felt really lame, but I went on the mission trip to Jamaica and sang songs for the Lord, but I was always doubtful that they got the message, because I wasn’t even sure what the message was. They did like my pretty blond hair, which they rubbed and touched, sitting on my lap, in poverty. I wondered if they knew more about this Jesus than I did, a glow from their center touching me, and I was pretty sure when I got home to the Tower of Babel, the private name I gave my church, I was right.
I couldn’t stomach the building funds, the DEBT, the growing of other churches when we hadn’t paid off the big screen t.v.’s in front of us, the rows and rows of white people, all the same, nodding their heads, the “Amens.”
I couldn’t stomach it.
Years later, Divorcee and I starting a family thought we were doing Kat a disservice by not going, and so we tried.
I really put my heart into it, and I will never forget the sick feeling of being inauthentic when we had “child dedication” day, holding her to the preacher to be blessed on her little Spiritual path.
She was only 18 months old. But, it brought me back to my own familiar path.
I remember everyone clapped and she loved the cake.
After doing the small groups, Divorcee and I came to the realization that we couldn’t, not that we didn’t want to, but it was impossible for my spirit to thrive there. I do not make judgments about organized religion, any of them, for I see how they serve a purpose, how so many people are loving, kind, serving, and true. They matter to many people in this world and this blog is no disrespect for them or their calling, the love of God is bigger than anything I know, and as always, the more I know the less I know.
I do know this.
I feel a lot like Jenny from “Forrest Gump,” throwing rocks at her home, screaming to God to make her a bird to fly far far away, walking the tight rope of darkness and destruction. Just like my other favorite character, with no legs, bitter and a raging alcoholic, they both seemed to look at the world through a different lens, one with a lot of anger, pain, but in the end, redemption.
Forrest, always seemed to have it, a purity so real and authentic, that him sitting in church was just as righteous and innocent as one can find, but I finally made my peace that I am not Forrest, have never been him, as much as I have tried. I am Jenny, and in the end, just like my favorite scene with Dan, floating without legs, and laughing, have found my peace with God.
And what I love most about God, Jenny, Dan, and Forrest.
It doesn’t even matter.
We are all loved just the same.

3 thoughts on “Forrest, the Ultimate Spiritual Leader

  1. This is only barely getting started….way unfinished. So far – good.

  2. What? I love this! Real feedback! What, What, What, Miss Kimberly is unfinished, and what and where do you want to start, ask or see? I guess to be finished is the spiritual walk in itself, but I like your blunt request, and I rise to any unfinishings you require.. FEED Me.

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