Augusta, Georgia: 1956
God is alive. God lives at our house. God lives in the woods where I play and God lives at church, too. Sometimes I want to say to God, “Are you following me?”
My Sunday school teacher told us that God is a boy. But God is not a boy. That’s silly!
You can’t see God but you can hear God. God is magic. God can fly! God is the Holy Ghost.
I like to sit in the backyard with my back against a pine tree. I braid the pine straw on the ground and pile up the pine cones. I look at the ants and ladybugs crawling around and the doodle-bugs peeking out of their holes. One time, a butterfly flew all around me and landed on my hand!
I hear the frogs and the katydids and the birds making happy noises. Sometimes the wind comes up and blows through the trees. The trees wave their arms and the leaves make a whispering sound. That is the Holy Ghost, flying across the sky.
I like the sound of my Daddy. His voice is deep and strong. It has laughing and hugging in it. He sounds like a daddy lion — not the bad kind that eats you — the kind that helps you when you are lost in the forest.
When my daddy is in the kitchen, he whistles pretty songs. Daddy hums all the livelong day. Mother calls him “my little hummingbird”.
Daddy sings me funny songs when we are lying in the hammock. Daddy sings in church, too, and sometimes he reads the Lesson. Daddy is a Lay Reader. But he doesn’t lay — he is standing up way down at the front and he goes like this, “THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. JOHN!” People like it when Daddy reads.
Best of all is when Daddy reads to me from “A Small Child’s Bible”. I like the blue cover and the beautiful colors in the pictures. I lay my head on Daddy’s chest when he is reading to me. His voice rumbles inside. I can feel the sound and hear it at the same time! That is the Holy Ghost, too.
Our cat Tuxedo likes to cuddle with me in bed. She gets very close to me and sometimes she even lies on top of me!
Tux likes to be petted. I pet her starting at her head and going towards her tail, but not the other way, because she doesn’t like that. She likes scratching on top of her head and under her chin, too – just a little bit, not hard.
Tux tells me she loves me by purring and purring. She closes her eyes half-way and smiles a cat smile. When Tux is purring, that is the Holy Ghost, too.
My Sunday school teacher told me, “God is inside you.” Another time she said, “God can talk to you.”
One day, my tummy was making funny noises. I was excited! I ran to my friend and said, “God is talking to me!” He laughed at me and said, “That’s just your stomach growling!”
That’s when I knew that sometimes when the Holy Ghost is talking, no one can hear it but me.
—K.D. Novak Burnett