Marcy S., age 21, New York

Maybe if I put some of these things into words — on paper — they’ll straighten themselves out in my mind and not be such a confused jumble. I need a big wind to drive all the chaff away — I am not bold enough to do it myself , or even to decide what is chaff and what isn’t.

It’s funny how you think so hard and puzzle over certain problems for a long time and then suddenly the light breaks and you see it all so clearly and simply.

My relationship with my parents has had a great deal to do with my attitude and feelings toward the idea of God. The book Faith is the Answer revealed that to me. It had never entered my mind at all. And yet I see it all now. It dates back, I suppose, to childhood punishments, which I blamed on God, sticking out my tongue at the ceiling, where I was under the impression God dwelt. I realized that this was a daring and impudent thing to do and I suppose it gave rise to later feelings of guilt and estrangement from God. 

There has never been a really close companionship between Mother and Daddy and me. I’m only beginning to understand why — and with understanding there isn’t any bitterness now or even rebellion. It’s too late now and besides yesterday’s failures and disappointments can never be made good today — only today’s. That sounds mixed up but I know what I mean! And without understanding there can be no real, meaningful love, even between parents and children. 

Perhaps I’m being wholly unjust, but I’m not bitter or complaining any longer — but I think that all along, ever since I was a child, I’ve craved understanding and I’ve gotten love, a very unsatisfying substitute! So love has seemed to me just that — a substitute, a weak thing that would deprive me of what I really needed and longed for. Of course I never consciously thought of it in that way. 

And since the child connects God with his parents I have felt estranged and ill at ease and far from God many times. I didn’t trust his love and I didn’t expect understanding from Him. Subconsciously I still don’t and sometimes it seems a hopeless battle. I want so hard to believe in His love and to trust him and love Him in return and yet I can’t — bonds of steel hold me back. This parent-God tie-up is probably the main reason and it is planted so strongly in my subconscious mind that uprooting it seems to be impossible. 

God wants us to be  happy — how hard I’ve tried to convince myself of that. A war-torn world and all the evils about us seem to belie that and yet the evils are not God’s doing — they are man’s. If man would let God take over his life, then he would be happy — completely and perfectly. I believe this with all my heart — in theory.

I’ve been unhappy for so long that I just can’t believe I’ll ever be otherwise. “The vast inertia of the soul,” as someone has put it.