I think I’m transparent when it comes to my personal belief system. I state on my Facebook page that I think G*d hears all prayers. I don’t think that my system is better than your system. I grew up Catholic, explored Pentacostal practices, and really, really, really tried to fit in with a neighborhood church. But when my oldest got in the car one evening after a children’s church activity and joked about how she learned that some people think we came from monkeys, I had to pull the plug.
I have heard over the years that Jesus is the way, and I have seen true believers mock those who create a comforting and customized belief system within which to function. I know that I’m one of those people. I can’t step on a bug, but I do smack the heck out of the avocados to get the ants to jump ship. I can cut grass and pull weeds, I can drop a live lobster into a pot, but I couldn’t slice a living fish for sushi. And when I see people in physical conflict, men on men, or on women, or children, or any of those combinations, it makes me physically ill. I don’t like to witness the mental struggles either, and I feel as though I’m constantly fending off witty and emotionally draining criticisms. Mean people suck.
And life is way too short, so focus on the joy, and focus on those who bring joy to your life as much as possible.
I have a friend who lost her husband a few weeks ago. She told me this morning that when she goes for her swim, she still looks for him on the nearby path. She would get in the water, he would do the walk, and the two kept track of each other from a distance. Now she looks up and he’s not there. She’s so positive. Here’s what she said to me today: “I say, ‘Eh, you banana! Why’d you have to go so early?’ But I know he’s walking in a better place.”
Whose hand do you hold? Don’t get used to it.
Yesterday I read the New York Times’ obituary about Davy Jones. I was sad, but not overwhelmed. But then I read the comments. They were poignant. They were about those of us who were tweenie boppers and The Monkees were the lite sensation compared to The Rolling Stones or The Beatles. The Monkees were on TV, they were accessible, they were funny, and their songs were easy to sing and dance to. I was sad because I was transported to that girl who sang along with the radio in my bedroom, with a few Tiger Beat magazines nearby, wishing I could be Marsha on The Brady Bunch. Was that so long ago? Yes it was. It was 40 years ago.
Today we learned that conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart died at the age of 43. That’s young. That’s Big Young. He stood for everything I don’t, but I appreciated his point of view, and I appreciate balance in discussions about politics and philosophies. How sad such a young life is gone. How is his family coping? What do his friends say about his moving on to another life?
Somebody called me out today because I stated that Hawaii’s Congressional delegation will stand by President Obama and not vote for the Blunt Amendment. My friend started her response with, “You of all people…”
It is astonishing to me how I have grown so far away from the person I used to be, the person my friend thinks she knows, the person she probably remembers from Catholic school days. I am the rogue family member who is liberal in every way, the one the rest of them cluck at, roll their eyes about, shake their heads at, point their fingers at, and tell me I have no idea, and “Just you wait.”
For what? Basic Christian teachings say we do have to look out for each other, that we shouldn’t persecute each other, that we are to love one another. Basic teachings, but tall orders. I find the people who find them hardest to follow consider themselves the Lord’s soldiers. Who decides who goes to Hell anyway? And what about those whose lives are hell now?
What strange trip is this?