Hi! Happy Friday!
As part of Steps 2 and 3, Nelissa has asked me to write about my history with my Higher Power…since birth. Hold on to your halos! I need to do this in installments. Here’s birth through high school…
I was raised Catholic which means I went to Church every Sunday, CCD (Catholic Christian something-or-other, or “Central City Dump”, depending on contempt level) once a week, and was most assuredly going to Hell if I ever offer someone a piece of gum but secretly hope they would say “no thanks” again. Bad, bad Catholic, said Sister Ann. But despite the facts that Sister Ann threw me across the library once (for no good reason, I might add. And there ARE good reasons to throw a 10-year-old nervous wreck across the library), and Sister Audrey threw me down a flight a stairs once for wearing mascara, even though Rachael McCarthy looked like Alice Cooper or perhaps a goddamn (literally) hooker and no one said a goddamn word to her, I never resented these women-eunuch brides of God (ooo snap! Going to Hell for that one!), nor questioned my faith. I said my prayers every night. I did not kneel though – I said them in bed. I thought that in the olden days, the world was in black and white (like old movies and old photographs), so I used to thank God that we have colors now, and prayed that, when I got older, we’d have even more colors! and was excited to find out what they would be. I prayed that when I died, I’d wake up in Heaven and be an angel… and as long as I happily and selflessly and Catholicly offered whoever a piece of gum and truly and honestly and Catholicly hoped they’d say YES, I was most assuredly going to Heaven. So, when I got to Heaven, I’d wake up as an angel, and I’d pray to be a full-bodied angel, not one of those head-only angels with their wings coming out of the backs of their heads. Those chumps must have been only marginally good Catholics, living in the Section 8 projects of Heaven. And how the Hell would I pat my Springer Spaniel in Heaven with no arms? Here we go again – that age-old question – is Dog Heaven a neighborhood of People Heaven or is it in another cloud altogether? A maddening mystery! Anyway, I mentioned earlier that I prayed in bed and not on my knees. I now think that whoever suggested the knee thing was on to something – you’re less likely to fall asleep on your knees praying than in bed praying with your Springer Spaniel. I was taught that you start your prayers by blessing yourself – in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen – then say your prayers, and then end your prayers by blessing yourself again – in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen. Inevitably, I’d bless myself, start saying my prayers, then fall asleep, dreaming presumably about Technicolor full-bodied angels. I’d wake up and be like “oh shit – did that prayer count since I didn’t bless myself to close it?”. So, I’d bless myself again – in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen – to close the prayer, presuming that the night before, I’d blessed myself, started saying my prayers, then fell asleep. And then I’d think “But God knows I was finished, right?”, so I’d bless myself again – in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen – thinking that the blessing I just gave myself was the beginning of a prayer, not an end. I’d bless myself again for good measure – in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen. Maybe once more will cinch it. In the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen. Where was I? In the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen. Zzzzz…
I asked my mother what happens when you die… because I needed one more thing to obsess about, I guess. She said it was like falling asleep and never waking up. This terrified me. Two things going on here: 1 – the thought of being dead in nothingness for an eternity made me want to throw myself off the roof. This actually makes sense, even if only to those who have OCD, like moi. The thought of having to wait a lifetime to find out what lay ahead for an eternity was dizzying – the suspense would be unbearable! May as well throw myself off the roof… and wait and see what happens, hopefully not for an eternity though. Dammit! Stuck in the OCD loop again! Anyway, I completely disagreed with her – it was contrary to the way I was raised, too. I still am certain that there’s a Heaven, and I cannot explain why I believe this. (HP in the house yo! Woo! Woo!). 2 – If she was correct, that would mean there was no God. Now, I did not grow up sitting in front of the fireplace saying rosaries and reading the Bible with my family. I don’t recall ever discussing God shit at all actually. But we did go to Church and it seems that was enough foundation for me to know a spiritual life. I felt comforted and protected by an ever-present and kind God character. If I did unto others as I would have others do unto me, I would be a good person and get my heavenly wings (and a matching body). It was as simple as that. I don’t remember if I ever questioned where God was during the droughts and famine inEthiopia, even though the images and my Catholic guilt haunted me. I want to say that I precociously believed that one day I’d understand why there was such suffering and misery in the world, and when I was older, I would do all I could to ease others’ pain. But I was probably playing Ms. Pac-Man and telling tasteless jokes. What do you call an Ethiopian with buck teeth? A rake!
God was at the mall. I kept looking but never found Him. My hair must have been in the way.
More to follow…. Amen. In the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen. In the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen. In the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen. In the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen. In the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen….