I can’t remember at what age I learned that God was a man, maybe I was six or a little bit younger. Before that, whenever I heard mention of God, I saw a picture of Miss Alice in my mind.
Miss Alice was my older sister’s grandmother on top of being the community’s baby sitter. At least that is what it seems like, looking back at it now. I don’t know if she was a paid baby sitter or if people just leave their children in her yard. What I remember is, in our small farming community in Jamaica, when most of the adults went to farm the land or my mother who was a nurse’s aide would go to work at our local health center, we would stay at Miss Alice until the adults came back in the evenings. I can still see the yard full of children.
I remember Miss Alice’s fried dumplings very well. Her husband “Maas Jerry” as we would call him, would refer to the dumplings as Johnny Cakes. I have not heard dumplings being refereed to as Johnny cakes in a very very long time.
Maybe it was the fact that this one woman would cook so much to feed a community of children why I saw God as being exactly like her. Maybe it was the time I stand too close behind a donkey and it kicked me in the stomach. I must have been about three or four at that time and felt unimaginable pain, but Miss Alice rubbed my stomach with something she had in a bottle and man did it ease the pain.
Sometime later, I learned that God did not look like Miss Alice, God wasn’t even a woman. However, the actions of God’s son reminds me of Miss Alice. The story of God’s son using 5 loaves of bread and two fishes to feed a multitude reminds me of Miss Alice’s Johnny cakes feeding an entire community of children. The story of God’s son healing the sick reminds me of Miss Alice’s comforting bay rum after that damn donkey kicked me in my stomach.