Sunday, August 14, 2011


Today I did something kind of shocking.   I stepped into a church.   Willingly.  And it wasn't for a friend's wedding or to keep my mom from being angry on Easter.   I wanted to be there and I stayed for the entire duration of the mass.   And I enjoyed it (well, I got something out of it, no one enjoys Catholic mass.   I went to church with a methodist once and I was floored.  No wonder they are so happy to be there, its basically a sing-a-long with tambourines and guitars).

Now you might be shocked to know that I am actually a person of religious belief.  I do swear--a lot.  And I think abortion jokes are funny.  And I love Bill Maher.     And even saying "I'm a Christian" sounds schmaltzy and creepy to me, because I associate such proclamations with TV evangelists and bigots who live in red states.   I wish to associate myself with neither.   But in that I believe in one God and that Jesus died for our sins, I suppose, I am, by definition, a Christian.  But it doesn't really matter what I believe.  Or what anyone believes for that matter.  My point is that I realized something today while I sat on a hard pew by myself surrounded by the elderly--I realized, in all my cynicism, and all my sarcasm, and all my swagger, deep down I'm just like everyone else, I just want someone to tell me that it's all going to be ok.   I was amazed actually, because I go to church so rarely it wouldn't really surprise me if I caught on fire upon crossing the threshold, but instead I was instantly comforted by the familiar smells and the ritual of it all.  It was sort of like sinking into a warm bath--and also feeling sheepish and guilty because you hadn't bathed in a while (I'm Catholic, guilt is sort of part of the deal).

I used to rely on my parents to be the ones who told me it was all going to be ok, and then at some terrifying point I realized they don't know that it's going to be ok anymore than I do.   For all they (and I) know by tomorrow the world could fall off its axis, or even more unlikely, Nader could win the presidency.  Both instances  would result in humanity's certain doom.   This was a heavy realization for me to make about my parents, but I was primed for disappointing news about them when I realized back a few years earlier that they had been bull-shiting me about Santa.   So here we all are, past the point of trusting any human-being to handle our fate and searching for the comfort of some higher-being to step in and pick up the slack.  

Today, when I realized I was in a room of people who were looking in the same direction for that source of comfort as I was looking, it made me feel so much better just knowing that we were all looking.  Knowing I wasn't alone in my search made the actual answer seem less important to find.  Does that make sense?   It's like all the kids in 3rd grade hating the lunch-lady, she's still sloppy about handing out peaches and stingy with the pizza slices, but you can all hate her together.  

This is a bit more rambling and existential than my other blogs--but I am in that kind of mood because not only did I go to church today, but I also watched a Woody Allen film--but what I want you to take away from this is not to worry.   Because we all do.   We're all scared.   We're all lonely.   And even though sometimes I'm an especially difficult nut to crack (pun alert!), I desperately want to be told its all going to be alright.    And you know what, it might not all be alright.   But if we go, we're going to together.   And there's some comfort in knowing that.

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