Friday, January 17, 2014

Oh God, seriously.

Buses here in Bolivia and Peru serve as mobile market places where plastic bags of chicharron are sold through the windows, where a man who presumably has an agreement with the bus driver to create some secret hell for passengers by selling a magical cures-all-sickness-and-prevents-all-cancers natural medicine proselytizes for about an hour with a microphone and a giant speaker, where the beginning of each trip starts with a call to the conversion to Jesus Christ.

Grace is a name that literally means the almighty power of God. I was born into a home that prayed the rosary, has crosses in almost all rooms of the house and bears close resemblance to a chapel. But as the man at the front of the bus spouted on about how the world is a horrible place and unspeakable things happen because you're not down with JC I had to bite my tongue and roll my eyes and stop myself from saying what I was thinking. I ain't buying it this crock of... 

You're not about to blame world hunger, climate change, natural disasters and human rights violations on me not joining in with the rest of the bus yelling AMEN! That's not on and that just pisses me off. Being born catholic I've had to deal with an overwhelming sense of guilt for most of the time I've been alive. Guilt for thinking, guilt for doing, guilt for wanting, guilt for ENJOYING guiltily guilt guilt. Somewhere between high school and university I climbed the mountain of guilt, looked down and realised that I didn't have to be standing there at all.

I believe in the almighty power of God, just not in the sense that has anything to do with yelling Amen on a bus because somebody is telling me a story I already know. There is magic in the universe, there is infinite love and absolutely no shortage of cosmic brilliance, all of which I believe wholeheartedly to be what my namesake is. But I don't have to justify that, I shouldn't have to justify that to anyone. God, No God, should not be an accusation, a pointed finger designed to make you feel defensive, or guilty or on trial. I don't quite think that's what the greater higher powers of the endless milky ways and galaxies had in mind for us. Correct me if you think I'm wrong.

When I climbed to the top of the rubbish dump of guilt I decided to set it on fire and let it all go. Before I did that however I decided to pick through the misguided feelings in search of anything worth keeping. I let go of the guilt for the not believing things I could not believe, of wanting things I was not supposed to want, of believing things I was not supposed to believe and a heavy magnetism drew me to    the only thing I knew to be true - love, kindness, consciousness and the need for us to be good to each other.

The need for me not to yell at this guy who was yelling at me. The need to dig deep into the well of my shallow pool of reserves for situations like this and find a way to be good, or at least, not to be mean or unkind or downright belligerent. So here and now, this is how it's surfaced. And it's reminded me of dear Roger Ebert who I only came to know through his thoughtful blog, who was authentic and true to that deeply human voice that echoes inside all of us, who believed in the magic of the universe - played out on the big screen.

“Kindness covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

Can I get an AMEN?   HELL YEAH!?

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