“She say, Wait a minute. Hold on just a minute here. Just because I don’t harass it like some peoples us know don’t mean I ain’t got religion..
What God do for me? I ast.
She say Celie! Like she shock. He gave you life, good health, and a good woman that love you to death.
Yeah, I say, and he give me a lynched daddy, a crazy mama, and a lowdown dog of a step pa and a sister I probably won’t ever see again. Anyhow, I say, the God I been praying to and writing to is a man. And act just like all other mens I know. Trifling, forgitful and lowdown.
She say, Miss Celie, You better hush. God might hear you.
Let ‘im hear me, I say. If he ever listened to poor colored women the world would be a different place, I can tell you.
She talk and she talk trying to budge me way from blasphemy. But I blaspheme as much as I want to.
All my life I never care what people thought bout nothing I did, I say. But deep in my heart I care about God. What he going to think. And I come to find out, he don’t think. Just sit up there glorying in being deef, I reckon. But it ain’t easy, trying to do without God. Even if you know he ain’t there, trying to do without him is a strain.
I is a sinner, say Shug. Cause I was born. I don’t deny it. But once you find out whats out there waiting for us, what else can you be?
Sinners have more good times, I say.
You know why, she ast.
Cause you ain’t all the time worrying bout God, I say.
Naw, that ain’t it, she say. Us worry bout God a lot. But once us feel loved by God, us do the best us can to pleasse him with what us like.
You telling me God love you, and you ain’t never done nothing for him? I mean, not go to church, sing in the choir, feed the preacher and all like that?
But if God love me, Celie, I don’t have to do all that Unless I want to. There’s a lot of other things I cann do that I spect God likes.
Like what? I ast.
Oh, she say, I can lay back and just admire stuff. Be happy. Have a good time.
Well, this sound like blasphemy sure nuff.
She say, Celie, tell the truth, have you ever found God in church? I nevre did. I just founf a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God.
Some folks didn’t have time to share, I said. They the ones didn’t speak to me while I was there struggling with my big belly and Mr. ______ children.
Right, she say.
Then she say: Tell me what your God look like, Celie.
Aw naw, I say. I’m too shame. Nobody ever ast me this before, so I’m sort of took by suprise. Besides, when I think about it, it don’t seem quite right. But it all I got. I decide to stick up for him, just to see what Shug say.
Okay, I say. He big and old and tall and graybearded and white. He wear white robes and go barefooted.
Blue eyes? she ast.
Sort of bluish gray. Cool. Big though. White lashes, I say.
She laugh.
Why you laugh? I ast. I don’t think it so funny. What you expect him to look like, Mr. ____?
That wouldn’t be no imprvement, she say. Then she tell me this old white man is the same God she used to see when she prayed. If you wait to find God in church, Celie, she say, that’s who is bound to show up, cause that’s where he live.
How come? I ast.
Cause that’s the one that’s in the white folks’ white bible.
Shug! I say. God wrote the bible, white folks had nothing to do with it.
How come he look just like them, then? she say. Only bigger? And a heap more hair. How come the bible just like everything else they make, all about them doing one thing and another, and all the colored folks doing id getting cursed?
I never thought bout that.
Nettie say somewhere in the bible it say Jesus’ hair was like lamb’s wool, I say.
well, say Shug, if he came to any of these churches we talking bout, he’d have it conked before anybody paid him any attention. The last thing niggers want to think bout they God is that his hair is kinky.
That’s the truth, I say.
Ain’t no way to read the bible and not think God white, and a man, I lost interest. You mad cause he don’t seem to listen to your prayers. Humph! Do the mayer listen to anything colored say? Ask Sophia,
she say.
But I don’t have to ast Sophia. I know white people never listen to colred, period. If they do, they only listen long enough to be able to tell you what to do.
Here’s the thing, say Shug. The thing I believe. God is inside you and inside everyobody else. You come into this world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it. And sometimes if just manifest itself even if you not looking, or don’t know what you looking for. Trouble do it for most folks, I think. Sorrow, lord. Feeling like shit.
It? I ast.
Yeah, it. God ain’t a he or a she, but a It.
But what do it look like? I ast.
Don’t look like nothing, she say. It ain’t a picture show. It ain’t something you can look apart from anything else, including yourself. I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that and be happy to feel that, you’ve found it.
Shug a beautiful something, let me tell you. She frown a little, look out across the
yard, lean back in her chair, look like a big rose.
She say, my first step from the old white man was trees. The air. Then birds. The other people. But one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not being seperate at all. I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and I cried and I run all around the house. I knew just what it was. In fact, when it happen, you can’t miss it. It sort of like you know what, she say, grinning and rubbing high up on my thigh.
Shug! I say.
Oh, she say. God love all them feelings. That’s some of the best stuff God did. And when you know God loves ’em, you enjoys ’em a lot more. You can just relax, go with everything thats going., and praise God by liking what you like.
God don’t think it dirty? I ast.
Naw, she say. God made it. Listen, God love everything you love.”