When I was alive, those were the two words that people used to comfort me. It is the beginning of wisdom.That’s what the preacher said each week. Standing in the pulpit, he would rage at the congregation. Sometimes it was hard to believe that he cared about us at all.
Fear God, and you will be saved. Fear God, and evil will pass through you. Fear God, and you will be rewarded. Always, however, that reward comes at the end of life. Nothing in the here and now. We waited for death for God’s actions. Die to live again.
So I learned to fear. Everyday when my husband came home reeking of alcohol and brutality, I spoke to God in fear. From our trailer in the deep in the red hills, I screamed his name. Over and over. I prayed for strength. I prayed for the next day.
I prayed for my child in the next room. I prayed for fear
And then one night, a different god came to me. Now, all I pray for is darkness.