When I was a senior in high school, the counselor had suggested that I become a kindergarten teacher. She sent me to observe a kindergarten class, and, of course, I liked it. I went to college with the intention of becoming a kindergarten teacher. But when it came to choosing classes, I didn't want the elementary ed courses. I wanted the literature courses, and so I became a lit major. I was not seeking God, yet I think that it was God in literature that drew me. Now I can say, What are the great thoughts of great writers but God's? What are all these eternal and universal truths but God's? But then I just knew I was drawn.
Religion never drew me. Sometimes I missed having what other people seemed to have, but of itself, I was way outside it. I didn't even get what religion was supposed to be. It was not real to me, and I had no reverence. I did not have disrespect either, but I could only have faked any connection to it or even understanding of what it might be or was really for. I did not feel God in a church or synagogue. Religion was a foreign language to me, and not one that I was ever going to bother to learn. And I haven't yet.
When I was in high school, it was a social thing to go to services on the High Holidays, and one time some other girls and I went to a little orthodox synagogue in the North End of the town I lived in. Only old people still went there. Of course, it no longer exists. The little old ladies sat in a balcony and they prayed with fervor. I felt these women had something I didn't, and that what they had was real and good, but that's the closest I ever got to feeling something deep religious-wise
When I was in college, there was one highly religious Jewish girl. Her name was Shulamith Moses. She was excused from Saturday classes. I knew Shulamith only in passing. Once in the ladies' room, she said to me, "You know, Gloria, some day you will really have to come to terms with God." I thought Oh, and didn't know what to make of it really. I felt some shame and puzzlement and had no idea what there possibly was to do about it. Of course, I did nothing. I have never forgotten Shulamith.