[Opinion] God of all Goodness

Since I can remember Africa has always been in my dreams. I was a little girl who kept stuffed lions to guard my bed at night, my mother read me Sir Laurens van der Post’s books to sleep, and I wore silver earrings of African elephants night and day. I’ve never been to Africa, but just the glimpse of an image that shows the beauty and vibrancy of the country, together with the people who live there, have always filled my heart with warmth and a longing to be there- amidst the people, sunsets and wildlife. Those amazing animals, the sprawling and soulful landscapes and sunsets, African people’s smiles, all of this beauty and uniqueness fascinates me and it seems the rest of the world. Undoubtedly it is a primal response, probably because Africa is the heartland where our brothers and sisters started the journey of humanity many thousands of years ago. I am an American but my husband was born in Kaduna, Nigeria, and I know that I share his heart with his homeland.  Some may say it’s destiny that a white Southern girl dreaming of a foreign continent found herself meeting a kind and incredible African man. I am not a religious person but it feels like a higher power somehow crossed our paths and brought our lives together. Many would say God answered the little girls’ dreams and blessed her with a happy marriage and connection to Africa forever.

Yet we all know the fairytale ending is perfect for story books, but life throws some good hands and some difficult ones. More than anything on the earth I would have loved to have shared the joy of having children with my husband. My dreams now are mainly of our little girls and boys with beautiful, coffee colored skins and dark curly hair in colored, beaded plaits. Our children now live in my dreams and not my reality. My most dreaded and hated saying is “it just wasn’t meant to be”. No doubt the believers would say that my journey didn’t ride that path to parenthood- the doors opened to another of life’s highways. I avoid going down that road of comparison to others- I cannot imagine the depths of despair a mother would feel to lose a child, or the horrors of living in a country where famine, disease and life threatening illnesses are my reality. But if there is a God I’m still one of those that still questions why we need suffer in life? Why it feels like some face more hardship than others- sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t always feel enough.

Many people who experience tough times in their lives will draw on their faith, whether it’s with a God or higher spiritual being or place. And it may seem like a depressing subject for some, but my journey has allowed me to think about what is going on in our world, and the good and the evil in it. The optimist would say that this time is a gift for a woman without the demands of motherhood.  One of the authors I have been reading is published at the World Transformation Movement by a biologist who examines the human condition and demystification of religion. I can’t imagine trying to teach children about God and religion when, as evidenced, my mind gets confused and foggy at times. But what makes sense out of his writing is that “God is the metaphysical and religious term for the integrative and cooperative ideals of life”. So that for us non-religious types, the word ‘God’ feels more accessible and helps to understand what the higher being represents. Because ultimately we all want to be the best person we can be on this earth, all of us can relate to the longing and desire to see the ‘world as one’; a loving world where everyone has the freedom to travel their own meaningful and joyful path . Whether you’re a person in Africa, America, or anywhere in our wide world, we all want what humans deserve, just love and understanding of ourselves and each other.