This, I Believe…I Think

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Sometimes, I reach a point where I stop and make a semi conscious assessment of where I am in my life. Sometimes, I feel that all that I am and what I believe in is starting to erode….like the lettering in the photo above.

Oy.

Lately, age has become a factor. It’s hard for me to believe I’ve lived 49 years. Forty-years???? I honestly don’t know how that happened. My forties have been such a blur. So much bullshit happened in the past eight years.

Then again, there’s a lot that didn’t happen and I should be grateful for the absence.

And if I were to express gratitude, to whom would I make the gesture?

God????

Ah yes….God.

Wanna know something about Laurie and God?

I was raised Catholic in a small town South Texas. The church was comprised of a congregation consisting mostly of ridiculously devout Mexicanos, Polish families, Czechs and then the random, Welsh/Scottish “ne’er do wells” known as the Kendrick clan.

The Mexicans have such an interesting relationship with the church. Mary is a celebrated fixture, as are the pantheon of saints and of course, there’s always Jesus. There used to be much superstition among the old school Mexicans.. so much so that where the church was concerned, Catholic dogma ranked second. And since Mexicanos were the predominate force, that’s to whom the church catered everything.

The parish in which I was raised, used to have an order of nuns (Carmelite nuns, I think) who taught Catechism. For you non Catholics, Catechism is an indoctrination of all things Catholic. Brainwashing? Yeah..sure, whatever.

These nuns I remember wore habits that were every bit similar to the Islamic burqua we see today. These women were completely covered—-the only thing visible were their faces and hands. Everything else was covered up tighter than a jar of pork rinds in Fallujah.

They were mean and they had the damnedest accents. I don’t know the countries they called home, but they weren’t Americans. They comprised the church choir–for a while anyway. And when they tried to sing? It was an adenoid fest. The most nasal cacophony I’d ever heard in my life. Imagine, if you will, a slide whistle that can barely enunciate.

Cod in tree puh-son; blassahd tree-nee-tee” .

I thought I was listening to bad auditions for a local production of “Flower Drum Song”.

Horrible.

And the horror didn’t stop there. Their English was abysmal. The above example of their attempt singing English language hymns wasn’t that far off the mark.

Check this out—I was confirmed at age 11. The nuns handled all details. After the ceremony, I looked down at the certificate of confirmation. Someone named “Loxie Kednik” just became an official congregate of the St. Cornelius Catholic Church of Karnes City, Texas.

I stopped going to Mass after graduating from high school. I started going again a few years ago, but grew tired of it’s monotony. Nothing had changed and that, I found to be a problem. Every once in a while, my Catholic roots will emerge and I’ll go to a church to sit and commune. But I don’t feel I need to go to church to pray and/or make my intentions known. I believe I can do that anywhere. The church as an edifice of worship, adds structure–literally and physically. And that’s fine if your faith requires that.

As for my faith?

I’ve been asked before if I believe in God. Interesting question. I know I believe in something that’s bigger than me. Bigger than you, too. What it is exactly, I’m not sure.

If I were asked to personify God, I was raised to believe He looks something like this:

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Long white hair and beard….hung out on a cloud. But that’s just an image of God that man can relate to.

Now, speaking of image. It’s written in the Bible, maybe the Torah or both that we’re made in the “image of God”. That’s confounding to me. I mean, how can that be? As I see it, it’s a flawed concept. As mortal humans, our lives are finite. We’re corporeal, too—-we have bodies. How is that in any way, like God, the omniscient, omnipotent, supernatural being we’re taught to believe that he is??

I don’t know, but with few exceptions, just about every culture on the planet believes in a supreme entity.

The safety in numbers aspect of that offers me no reprieve, because I’ll admit, I sometimes have my doubts.

On 9/11, I had my doubts.

As I watched the World Trade Center crumble, I wondered where God was. Ironic, isn’t it that that’s the reason why the towers were attacked in the first place? Think about it: the 19 hijackers firmly believed they were doing it for Allah. They felt they had every right to kill the infidel Americans because they/we didn’t believe as they did. God was on their side.

Wait, isn’t he on our side too?? “God Bless America” and all that??? Greatest country on Earth, right?

But where was God that day?

Where was He as desperate people jumped from the top floors of Tower One as it burned?

Where was God during the Oklahoma City bombing?

Katrina?

Thailand during the tsunami?

The California wildfires?

Virginia Tech?

Where is he when children are kidnapped, raped and murdered?

We hear so much about free will and God. OK, fine, but would someone please care to explain to me how in the hell free will comes in to play with that one?? How is it a child’s free will to experience that?

I posed that question to a New Age, metaphysical type a while back. She tried to convince me that the child had a contract with God–upon conception no less–to be a scapegoat for mankind. The child’s soul “agreed” to be kidnapped, raped and tortured so that perhaps, new laws could be implemented about kidnapping and then perhaps, maybe fewer children might suffer the same fate.

Huh?

That’s just human drivel and a weak sauce attempt to explain the inexplicable. And that leads me to this: why do New Agers and evangelicals and Holy Men dressed by Sherpas in Tibet even try to explain what they don’t know? No one is THAT enlightened!! And that includes you too, Pope Benedict!!

The truth is, no one has the answers. You ask eight people, you’ll get eight very skewed answers.

You ask a rabbi, you’ll get a Jewish take—with guilt.

As a Calvinist-based Presbyterian and he’ll tell you it was your destiny to ask these questions.

Ask an evangelical and you’ll get her perspective—-for the next eight hours.

Ask an atheist and you’ll get ridiculed.

I don’t know why bad things happen to good people. I don’t know why good things happen to bad people. But I do think that there is somehow, a connection that exists.

I know that’s simplifying the impossible. But at one time, I knew it to be true.

In 1991, I was in a horrible accident. The truck in which I was a passenger drove off the road and over an overpass into a creek below. The driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. I went through the windshield and broke a million bones. There were several surgeries, a lengthy hospital stay.. I was in pelvic traction along with a full leg cast. That meant I was immobilized—I couldn’t move and remained that way for almost two months. In addition to the intense pain, I found out that my injuries had compromised my ability to have children. I lapsed into a state of depression.

One afternoon, a nurse came in and noticed I was down. She said that I should be grateful that I survived the accident because there was a reason I was spared. God had something in store for me.

My ego of course, immediately conjured visions of grandeur: I’d win an Oscar; I’d develop a cure for cancer. I’d coach the Astros to their first World Series win.

Fast forward two years:

I was working for a popular morning radio show here in Houston. I received a letter handwritten in pen, on notebook paper and it was from a boy, a local High School senior who was writing to tell me thank you.

He had been very depressed. He was hanging around with the wrong bunch of kids, got into drugs..parents were divorced and uninvolved with his life…a life spinning out of control. His young existence was in shambles. So, one morning, he decides to wake up in order to die.

With his radio on our station, he grabbed a handgun and sits on his bed. He put the gun in his mouth…he could taste the metal and the gunpowder. He placed his thumb on the trigger. And just as he was about to pull the trigger, he said he heard me say something so funny, that he had to remove the gun from his mouth to laugh. And he went on to say that it was in that moment he knew that if he could still laugh at something, even at the bleakest, lowest moment of his life, that maybe, things weren’t that bad. Maybe he could go on living and life just might be OK.

At that moment, I got it!!! I was spared so that he was spared.

I have no idea what happened to him, but I’d like to believe that his existence is now making or will make a difference to someone else.

Life is about our interconnectivity.

Then, on September 11th, 2001, none of that made sense anymore.

In all honestly, it still doesn’t. I can’t explain any of that. I don’t have a handle on what God is and what God isn’t. I only know what I know and I’m not even sure of that.

Of that which I do know, I can tell you that Life isn’t clear cut. Life isn’t at all simple or laid out in easy to comprehend black or white concepts–now in four fun flavors in a new, convenient travel size!!!

Hardly.

Sometimes white is black and black is white. It’s a conundrum.

Take prayer, for instance. I am convinced when we pray to God–the Universe, the Cosmos…whatever the vernacular… we might not be given what we want, but we’ll always be given what we need. And sometimes, in a most circuitous way.

For example:

  • We ask for riches and it never materializes in gold bricks. We’re given a brain to figure it out and the stamina with which to make money; to be prosperous.
  • We ask for courage and sometimes, we’re given huge problems and pain to overcome. Awareness is earned; never “given”
  • We pray for love and rarely does it come on the form of a beautiful Goddess incarnate or a handsome prince on a white horse. There are times when love comes in the form of being able to help people we don’t even know

In the grand scheme of things when it comes to God, what we want and what we need are two different things.

I think it all boils down to this: Life is at times, quite messy; it is difficult and it is involved.   Sometimes, it’s ugly.

And sometimes, it’s monumentally beautiful.

We’re conceived through the fertilization of sperm and egg. We’re born and we live. Life is what we make of it. It’s all about the choices we make. If we decide to move or not move. To speak or not to speak. To turn left or turn right.

To love or to hate.

There are consequences for every action and for every inaction.

It’s all about perspective and that means ultimately, we deem Life as either good or bad.   It’s our call. It’s all about the human experience as we attempt to survive the human condition. It’s so much more about us than we realize.

Frankly, I think THAT’S about as close as I can get to explaining everything….especially free will.

Life IS our call. OUR CALL and God and our belief in “Him”–whatever that happens to be—fills in the cracks. What we don’t get and can’t explain–or don’t want to explain, we hand over to Him…the divine catch all.

This, I believe.

Well, that, plus I’m also beginning to think that blind faith is emotional Spackle for the human psyche.

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3 comments

  1. “…just as he was about to pull the trigger, he said he heard me say something so funny, that he had to remove the gun from his mouth to laugh.”

    You saved a person’s life that day. How many of us can say that we have contributed that much to the world?

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