My nephew Ayden was baptized today, and it got me thinking about, you know, churchy stuffs. While I don’t shout it, I’ve never made secret the fact that I am not religious, or even spiritual for that matter. My “religion,” if I had to give it a name would probably be Courtesy. It is something the world is in need of all the time and is easy, even for someone like me, to understand.
I’m not against religion in any way and I do not care for people who are. Judgy bastards. I think it, like politics, is difficult to understand, and both scare the shit out of me. There are those in both groups who believe what they believe so fiercely and have no doubt that the other guy is wrong and it is there where my confusion begins. It is, for me, one of those things where I’ve come to believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I’m not a Mormon but I’ve attended church there before and even spoken at a mission farewell, something for which I will always be grateful. My father was Greek Orthodox and I went to church with him a few times as a child and accompanied him once more as an adult at his funeral. With the exception of the mission farewell speech for my very good old friend Aaron, I did not enjoy any of those visits. Some of it has to do with the tears, and I don’t just mean those at the funeral.
Please don’t get me wrong. People who love their religion (or their politics or sports or their Mary Jane Doc Martens or glitter eyeshadow or what-have-you) are awesome. Love what you love and I will never think less of you for it. In fact I’ll always think more of you that you believe in something so strongly and with such brute certainty. Go with your bad selves. I didn’t choose to be so androgynous, same as I didn’t choose to be a girl or so freaking awesome, but here we all are. As for me I could never get comfortable listening to people talk about God. I stopped saying prayers when I was eleven because I felt silly talking to myself.
There are- like almost all times in life- exceptions to the talking about God rule. One of my favorite books, Shantaram, talks about God being “The Ultimate Complexity” and man it really dumbs that shit down. Its like they wrote God For Dummies but then gave it an amazing plot and humor that makes you pee yourself. It talks about the Big Bang Theory, the making of the earth and where we are going and is really just one gigantic metaphor for all the religions of the world if they were chucked into a big Kitchen Aid and turned on medium for thirty seconds.
The other two exceptions are people. The first one is my best friend’s husband. Ryan is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He’s kind and he truly loves and understands his religion. (LDS). He is one of those people that I could listen to talk about God or just about anything and be perfectly at my ease. I don’t say this because I want to be converted, so my missionary audience just hold your potatoes. I say it out of complete respect for the man. To me it’s always seemed that so many people are religious or believe what they believe because someone told them to; so when I hear a truly educated person talk about it, someone who has a very clear understanding and could totally beat anyone’s ass at Mormon Jeopardy, I can totally listen and be impressed.
The second person I like listening to is my husband’s uncle Kevin. I’ve always enjoyed speaking with him at family functions anyway, and he’s just cool as hell. Today he spoke about the Holy Ghost at Ayden’s baptism and it was, for me, the best part of the program. He didn’t stand behind the podium, he stood next to it, informal, where Ayden could see him and feel comfortable. His tone of voice itself is comforting and even but not condescending. You have to understand that for me, for someone who is so much different than I am to capture my attention so easily, even eagerly is kind of a big deal, especially when the subject is the Big G. Anyway thanks Kevin. Thank you for always making me feel welcome and comfortable. Your whole family is so good to me.
For a lot of years I thought I was an atheist. Then I thought maybe I was God-curious which is like bi-curious but for Jesusy things. Obviously. As I’ve said before, I’m a slow learner, but I do love to learn. I think it’s one of the reasons I love being married to Bear so much. I love what I learn from him. And like everything else, my chain of learning is sorta jacked up but here’s how my thoughts have changed over the past year or two: I went from not believing in anything, to not believing there’s not something, just not sure if there is, to wondering about ghosts.
See what I did there? I swear it’s like all my think chains are as kinky as late night tv (or so I would assume. I don’t actually have cable or watch tv really so that metaphor might actually be complete horseshit.)
I think I believe in ghosts. I won’t get into why; it’s not very entertaining. But that made me think: well shit, if there are ghosts there must be something after, right? Or is there really nothing? Is it really just like having Propaphal injected into your IV and then nothing? Not blackness. Not even consciousness. And what about reincarnation? People who believe in that always seem to be ridiculed, but is it really that hard to believe? Our entire planet dies and is reborn with the seasons each year. And then there’s the caterpillar! Bam. Two lives, right in front of our faces yo. Awesome. (Especially Epsilon from Alice in Wonderland. Alan Rickman is the bomb dot com.) And what do you do if there’s heaven? Do you hang out on the clouds drinking wine that Jesus made out of enormous gold goblets like in Clash of the Titans, sleeping on clouds more comfortable than a lovesac and watching your relatives who are still alive make funny faces when they poop? Or is there like, the best freaking Target ever and I get to shop there with Donald Trump’s MasterCard?
There are those that spend their entire lives searching for Truth. I can’t say that I’m that way. I don’t think that searching is my nature, unless we’re talking about bargains. No, I think if I manage to find The Truth (or Destiny, Fate, God or The Ultimate Complexity) it will happen because I run my dumb ass smack into it. You know like when you’re at the mall and you see the sample tray at Cinnabon and try to grab one without stopping and cause a 14 shopper pile up?