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I Remember (Ted A. Richard-Church Point, LA)

I REMEMBER my first day of religion school
We learned about God
… God is nowhere, yet God is everywhere
… God is no one, yet God is everyone
… God is LOVE
That’s tough for a first grader to understand
But I took it to heart and tried to be like God
Because God loves everyone

I REMEMBER a little girl I went to elementary school with named Nancy
I didn’t think she was very pretty
I guess I wasn’t the only one who thought she was ugly
Because lots of the other kids in school laughed at her and teased her
I must admit that I was one of them
So I asked my Mom
“Does God love Nancy even though she is ugly?”
My Mom responded
“Yes, God loves everyone and everyone is beautiful in God’s eyes!”

That was another tough one
If everyone God made was beautiful
Why did it still seem ugly to me?
I REMEMBER in junior high I started going to school with some different people
No we didn’t move away
But on the news they called it integration
I hadn’t seen very many brown people before
I thought they just cleaned homes and picked up trash
Anyway, I met one of these brown people
His name was Jesse and we became good friends
We’d play outside together at recess and wait for the bus together after school
But there were some others who didn’t like my friend Jesse because he was different
And they didn’t like me because I was Jesse’s friend.
One day some boys on the bus beat up on Jesse after school
And hurt him really badly
I was too afraid to do anything to help him
The next day Jesse had cuts and bruises on his face and arms.
Not only did he not speak to me
But he didn’t even look at me
Jesse and his family soon moved away and I never saw him again.
So I asked my Dad
“Does God love Jesse even though he is brown?”
And my Dad said
“Yes, God loves everyone and God made everyone beautiful!”

Again, I didn’t understand how God could love everyone
And still let people hate my friend Jesse
And make him move away
I REMEMBER during high school I began to notice things about me that were different
My emotions were changing and my feelings were confused
(or so I thought)
I didn’t know if I was normal or not
Although I didn’t change,
Others treated me as if I had.
Then I found this friend who was just like me
And I learned that I wasn’t the only one with these feelings.
So one day after Sunday services I told my pastor about these feelings
And I asked him
“How does God feel about me now?”
And he replied
“God loves everyone … “
Then he continued
“God created everyone to be different in one way or another
It is our likenesses that attract us to each other
And our differences that make us more interesting to each other!”

Once again that was a tough one
If God loved everyone
And he still loved me
Why did I feel such hatred coming from many angles?

I REMEMBER a couple of years ago
I found out that I was soon going to die
Somehow this disease had gotten into my body
And was destroying my immune system.
Along with that
I was slowly losing my pride and dignity and self respect
I was made to feel shameful and sick
It was time that I had a heart-to-heart with God
Now let me tell you that I don’t think that
God is Catholic or Baptist or Jewish,
Or that he is white or brown or black,
Or that his name is God,
Or that he is a he.
I just know that everything in life happens for a reason
And that God has something to do with it.
Even though I don’t understand
Or it doesn’t make sense to me
I just do my best
And hope that it is good enough!

So I asked God
Please explain to me
“How could you love little ugly Nancy and still let people tease her?”
“How could you love my little brown friend Jesse and let those boys beat him up?”
“How can you love everyone and allow us to hate each other?”
“How can you love me and kill me with a disease that fuels anger and bitterness?”

And God said,
“I do love you … I love everyone!”
“It is you who teased little Nancy!”
“It is you who beat up little Jesse!”
“It is you who mocked others for being different!”
“It is you who chose to hate!”
“But my love for you has not weakened!
I created each of you for the good of everyone else.
You all learn from each other.
Some things you like
Some things you don’t like.
Each life is a lesson and an experience
In faith and hope and love!”
“I created each of you to be perfect and each of you to be equal
No one better than another and no one worse than another.
I gave you only obstacles you could overcome
And was always there with a helpful nudge when needed.
“I always gave you just enough rope
Either to hang yourself with
Or to get you to the other side!”
“You have pleased me by using each strand of rope
To build a bridge of love and hope
For others not so fortunate!”
“Your strength and courage are a lesson
To those who may otherwise have not experienced such compassion!”
“Because of you
We are all wiser and stronger!”

REMEMBER it is you with the option
It is you with the choice
“I do love everyone
And I especially love you!”
REMEMBER also that


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