Saturday, May 21, 2011

a little rapture

So I've been working on this memoir, and thinking about my relationship to God and the divine. That's the nut of the thing: how my ideas got formed and how they're shifting, and everything I've done to try and find...well, usually I use the word "it", but today I feel like saying "him". Which is new.


Jesus is on a lot of people's minds today, and mine, too, as he has been for a while here with this book. I was remembering my childhood relationship to him, which, since I wasn't brought up as a Christian, was friendly but distant. I always thought, "That guy seems cool. They've got a cool guy over there." And at one point, when I was around ten, I figured that he's probably open to being buddies with anybody. You don't have to go to one of the churches where they've got a big picture of him. If you sidle up to shake hands, he's going to be all the way down with that, maybe spin the handshake into one of those long, complicated, reunited-with-a-great-old-friend, what-it-was numbers. (I feel like I'm supposed to be capitalizing those Hims and Hes but I tell you I just can't do it. Feels funny. I'm positive he doesn't mind.)

So I've been thinking about him of late, and sort of trying him on for size. I haven't done that since childhood. You can see all of the Hindu flags I've got flying on my blog here, so you know I have a tent informally set up east of the sun. But I'm not - and I make it a point not to be - exclusive with any one way to God. I'm curious about them all, and think that any one of them followed with a full heart will get you there, and that none of them are the point. I'm pretty sure anybody can take the elevator in and up right from where they are with no middleman.

And that brings me back to the Rapture.

I was meeting with my mentor the other day. (I have the world's most wonderful mentor. I meet with her twice a month, and I tell you it's like being launched 500 extra yards down my path every other Thursday. Magic.) And I'd been telling her that I'd been thinking about Jesus as a result of my writing, and she said that was funny, because she'd been thinking a lot about him, too, of late. And no kidding, he's certainly floating in the common consciousness with all of this Rapture talk.

But as I drove away from my appointment with her, driving to see my chiropractor *, I had the most fantastic sort of weirdly holy experience. Every person I saw on the way - riding bikes, driving cars, standing around on the sidewalk - was do I put this? They were magnificent. Every single person appeared to be the secretly radiant star of some great epic. It was like The Return of the King, only every damn person alive was the king. Everybody was Frodo, Harry Potter, Aragorn, you name it. Everybody was The Chosen One. I knew for sure that the skinny young Asian man on his bike was possessed of amazing wizardly powers that he will get to put to the test eventually. That the old, rumply, unassuming man in a windbreaker ambling down the sidewalk was as Dumbledore as Dumbledore himself. And it was pretty rapturous, let me tell you. I wanted to see as many people as I could. It was like the world was some kind of divine Hollywood, and everybody was the most famous person in it, and I was the the most avid stargazer alive. Joy.

*Oh my god, that car accident was kind of the best thing that ever happened. Now I get to have chiropractic and massage three times a week! A WEEK! A shot of both every time. I can't wait to tell you about the guy who's giving me massage, either. It's too delightful. Next time.

And this morning, I woke up to a feeling of deeper peace than I've felt in years. I had the feeling that all of my problems - even if they're not visibly solved - are solved already in some way that just hasn't had time to manifest in the physical world. I felt whole and happy, that All is Right with the World, that I lack nothing. I feel it through every inch of me this morning. It's just true.

So, here's to you, Harold Camping, you crazy diamond. And here's to you, too, Jesus, my new old distant friend. I don't know about anybody else, but I think this has been a fine Rapture so far.

Monday, May 02, 2011

on bin laden and being human

Do I feel like dancing about it? No. The feeling is quieter and darker and grander. Profound grim visceral satisfaction, and something like awe. My reaction may not be coming from the finest part of my nature, but I'm not concerned about that at the moment. It's story, writ large. The shock and grief and fallout of the plot point on 9/11, and the felt weight of an answer on 5/1. Not the answer. An answer. Something direct, finally, that spoke right to the wound.

The rightness of a full circle. The narrative isn't left dangling, the story feels - rationally or not - less senseless. The physics is right, too. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Yes. YES. Gratitude for when that looks or feels true.

Whatever this gives to the families who lost loved ones that day, I endorse wholeheartedly. Some kind of dark, deserved exultation.

And there's the feeling of connectedness - all of our enormous combined attention moving to the same place - that happens when something truly historic takes place. The grand feeling might have something to do with all of our consciousnesses linking up for a moment. That we're all forever located in time together in some concentrated way.

And there's the pure, mind-boggling appreciation for the execution of an incredibly difficult task. The ferocity and elegance of the maneuver. Hot damn.

I know that this feeling isn't the best we can do. I know that exulting over a death isn't what some people might call God consciousness. I grant that, I agree with that. But this is human with a capital H. It's dark, light, high, low, sorrow, glee, anger. The most eternally human mix. There's something right in not disavowing this other part of ourselves, the part that creates all the story in the world. There is no resolution without conflict.

So in a reverse "Namaste", the human in me salutes the human in us all, and I'm savoring this feeling while it lasts.