|Posted on December 16, 2012 at 8:45 PM|
Twice a week I go to bed with visions of mega millions dancing in my pretty head. On most Tuesdays and Fridays I buy a chance or two in a bazillion to win the top prize. I know full well that I am more likely to be struck by lightning while dancing on the head of a pin with Prince on New Year’s Eve in Dubai than to win. But, hey it’s a certainty that I won’t win if I don’t play. And, more importantly, I’d like to believe in a miracle even for just a few minutes while I drift off to sleep.
When I was a little girl studying my Catechism and working my way through the holy sacraments as my Irish Catholic mother orchestrated, I was certain there was a God. And, that he knew everything I was doing day and night—kinda like a thinner, less jovial Santa, only you got your rewards for being nice on Christmas Day, whereas the Chief would be meeting you at the pearly gates hopefully many, many years down the line to make you pay.
“If you do something bad with your hands, your hands will burn in Hell,” Sister Mary Nevercrackedasmile chided us in religious instruction class. “If you read something bad, your eyes will burn in hell...” and so on ad infinitum, ipso facto, mea culpa, bella canto and Bella Lugosi.
As my seven-year old brain processed this prospect, I was certain I was going to simply instantaneously combust in a ball of flames with just ashes in my saddle shoes where a lively, curious little girl once stood.
An older brother or two dispelled the myths of Santa and God long before I wanted or was ready to decide one way or the other for myself. Pretending to believe in the old fat guy got me an extra present for a few more years. The other was a bit more challenging.
I went from believing, to doubting, to questioning to finding it all a bit hard to swallow. Much like the Holy Host that I instinctively threw up at the altar to the dismay of my family and rage and utter disgust of the aforementioned nun. Like ghosts, of which I have actually had personal experiences, the whole God/son of God theory was in the category one of life’s unanswered questions. Like how is it possible that the Kardashians are so popular for doing absolutely nothing? It is what it is--whether I believe or not.
But, unlike the Kardashian conundrum, people feel the need to make you pick a side. Either you believe or you don’t. Republican or Democrat. Straight or Gay. One Direction or NSync. What if you’re right in the middle? You don’t really believe but you’re not ready to throw it all out with little Moses’ bath water.
Back in the 80s, when I lost my mother, younger brother and father within a few years, I prayed. Prayed to believe. To attain that comfort that believing in God or Jesus or something seemed to bring to other people who did have faith. But, I could no more believe in one man creating and overseeing all this wonder than in Santa Claus. It just was what it was. And so I carried my grief, powering through each day until it didn’t sting as much.
When 911 happened, I was horrified and sad and shocked by what I saw--just like every other American. Once again I prayed. To believe. To get some of that comfort people talk about. At the same time, I was struck by how much overwhelming fear there was considering that 90% of Americans believe in God. I was heartbroken but I wasn’t afraid. I couldn’t understand why people didn’t feel safe in the knowledge that when it’s your time, it’s your time? That God will gather you up in his loving arms and take you into the afterlife. Etcetera, etcetera, veni, vidi, vici, semper fi!
Now with the recent horrifying tragedy in Connecticut, if you have to wonder--why is God so pissed off?!
“God works in mysterious ways,” a friend reminded me.
Mysterious, indeed! Maniacal is more the word that comes to mind. What kind of cruel joke is this guy/gal pulling on all of these faithful worshipers, particularly young, innocent children?
In 1968, when we first moved to California, my father would read the Bible to us in the evenings since we did not have a TV to entertain us. He would always close the book with the same comment.
“Dis is all just a wery good story. Det’s all. A good story.”
Some story. Makes Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy look like Sesame Street.
When I lost my sister a couple of years ago, I was again struck with what to do with all the pain and grief. Couldn’t I just give it up to somebody? Something?
Then it dawned on me that as much as I don’t believe, I really don’t know. So, in the interest of drifting off happily—if only for a couple of nights a week--now I lay me down to sleep with stacks of green bouncing around my brain. And the prospect that maybe, just maybe, I will see my parents, sister and brother again and we can all dance on the head of pin with Prince…