My mother was devout. That there was a God and his heaven, and that God was in his heaven and all was right with the world, were precepts irrefragable. Was my mother above admitting that all was not so well with the world? No, she was wonderfully cognizant of man’s inhumanity to man (and ever woman), but man’s threatening to shoot rockets over borders or bombing Boston sporting events or gunning down elementary students were his failings. To say all was right with the world was to my mother the equivalent of saying the car was tuned up and waxed, washed and with tires rotated, and if someone were to take that car and go smashing through a farmer’s market, it was not as if the car had any say in the matter. Its driver was simply an asshole. My mother believed in God and heaven and assholes. And she believed the assholes had been behind the wheel for a very long time.
She subscribed to no particular faith. She was Lutheran or Methodist once but had picked and chosen what she liked from where she liked and maintained an adiaphorous attitude to the sacraments. She had been baptized somewhere somehow and took communion sometimes someplaces. Moreover she was a charitable woman. She didn’t care much for tattoos, and that came from the Bible’s proscription, but one of her daughters was both tattooed and homosexual, and my mother was not the type to hang Unwelcome signs based on who we love on Earth.
The Bible forbids a lot of things and is full of war and injustice, incest, racism, and a unicorn. It is also full of love and forgiveness, redemption, comfort, and toil. I’m not certain how much of the King James my mother actually read but I don’t think its scripture mattered much to her. There is no difference between the Bible and the world; both contain the same assholes and the same charitable mothers; what matters seems to be that we give ourselves to a belief in something.
Once upon a time I believed that my mother needed to believe and so she chose God and his heaven and the rightness of his world over yoga or tiny dogs or baseball, or china dolls in glass cabinets. I still believe that most of us need to believe in something but for my mother I am comfortable now saying she had faith. Her faith was her business and she minded it her own way. She was a soul woman.