In 1960, I was 13 and Bar Mitzvahed like all my friends in the neighborhood. This is the “coming of age” ritual for Jewish boys when they get to say, “Today I am a man!” Even at such a young age I knew this was a lie, but I dared not let anyone else know. I was already deeply in hiding and knew deep inside being a man was the furthest thing from my truth.
Fast forward: When it was time to send my children to Hebrew School, the rabbi thought I should go for conversion lessons, as I had no knowledge or sense of my religious “heritage.” I declined. I was still deeply hiding.
Fast forward: In 2011, I transitioned my gender, and actually got to say, “Today I am a woman!” This felt right and true, and freed me up from hiding. Now there was so much reprogramming to do.
I am still not a religious person, but I know my life’s journey has been full of blessings. I have no other words or way to articulate how I feel, so this brings me to my view of God.
I see God as a force for good… like a good parent, providing me guidelines of right and wrong and sending me out in the world to live my life and find my truth. God does not micromanage me and tell me what to do in every moment. The gift of life came with the basic program called free will and I must choose the best path to travel. Even when I face tough challenges or receive blessings that often come in very mysterious ways, free will calls me to make my own choices. Through the years I have learned it is much better to choose the path of love over the path of fear.
I see a loving God, not a wrathful God. I see a forgiving God and not a punishing God.