I believe that God is an old, African, Appalachian, Jewish, homosexual, paralyzed, poor, tired, woman. I believe she has great wide hands that have been ripped from picking cotton, filthy from mining coal, raw and cracked from harvesting the crop, rotten from searching in garbage for food, achy from their work on a keyboard, gentle on the face of the lonely and worried, red from laughing and clapping at the party of a child, and long, clean, and folded at the funeral of an artist.
I believe that because of the depth of God’s love, she has known the depth of love’s opposite, and can skate on a spectrum that is linear and eternal, able to nestle in with us wherever we are on that spectrum.
I believe that God is a picnic-er and invites her children, and all of her creations onto a hill to share in a meal. We rest, sit and tell stories and look with giant, gentle eyes at her creation. The ants on our toes tickle, crawl and play lightly, the wind is free, the seasons behind the hill ready preparing to emerge in their time.
I believe God is a god of is beauty and order- and that those elements are often the redemptive parts of chaos, which itself is a divine and transformative place.
I believe that people have the ability to “live alleluia.” Often asleep, I keep my eyes open enough to get from point to point through life, like the sun is too bright, my house shoes have glue on the bottom, and the coffee is perpetually only perculating. But I have the ability to awake, to search my heart and mind and find her there in my ugliest nook and crany sitting on a bench waiting for me. We wade in the muck together and I am able to transcend it, because she was there first.
I believe that God has a great big lap.
I believe that God likes the “blues”.
I believe that God adores people who have known them.
I believe God is omni-present, but that she prefers places we would never put her. She prefers the sterile meeting room of a hate group that rents a room from a local church for sessions. She likes the cave of a sick and rabid grizzly, where the nomadic poor have come for shelter, because she created the whole and therefore loves the whole. She is not a God of either/or, but of both/and, and can feel rage and love at the same time. She is perpetually sad, and perpetually putting in place structures for redemption.
I believe that God does not posses mercy. I believe God is mercy.
I believe that people are always beautiful, but most of us don’t know that yet.
Kate O’Dwyer Randall served as associate university chaplain at the University of Richmond.