Laurie Kendrick, religion, Spinoza, existentialism, faith, God

About God

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Who, what, where is God?    Do you believe he’s the long, white-haired, Chuck Heston looking guy Michaelangelo  painted?    Or do you believe without the need for any kind of personification?

If you believe, what is God to you and why?     And must you attend church in order to be completely square the Big Guy….or Big Gal upstairs?

If you don’t believe, why?     Would you consider yourself an agnostic with doubts or are yiunan atheist certain there’s no divine force playing  chess with our lives?

Fear not, you won’t be judged.  There are no wrong answers.    I only ask because there have been a lot of trials in my life this past year  and during a nightly swim under the lilac skies of the Hill Country at twilight, I thought about my ever evolving concept of God  and wondered are we being punished when life is difficult or rewarded when things go smoothly.

Your  thoughts, please.

 

 

 

Birthday Plus One

 

 

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Yesterday, I turned 58.    Didn’t you see the skywriting?    The fireworks ?   Didn’t you feel the Earth’s  axis shift a smidge???

My family made a very big deal of my reaching this milestone at this particular  time in my life.  . I’m  grateful that they did.  The was tthe first birthday I’ve  celebrated in years.    I haven’t honored  my own birthday very much.   I’d ignore it since everyone else did, but that was my fault.   Why it was my fault isn’t important.   Just know that I’m aware I was to blame.   I accept that responsibility.

Anyway, my birthday celebration started in earnest on Friday afternoon. That was one stoned groove, people.

Then on Saturday, my sisters and niece whisked me away from the hills to be with other family members and that was equally delightful. I ate everything that was wrong and drank waaaay too much and now I’m so bloated that if I looked down and saw the word Hindenburg written on my stomach, I wouldn’t be surprised

As stated, it was the first real birthday celebration in years.    I remember one  a particular April 22.    It started like any other day and promised to end like any other day as well.      Ordinary.   Nothing special.     Usually, I was blaise about my birthday. but as the day progressed,   I began to feel sorry for myself,   I don’t remember the exact year,  but I know it fell  within a time I call,  “The Years of Without”.    Everybody has them at various points in life.   For me, I was broke as hell and either unemployed  or severely underemployed.   Still, I wanted to acknowledge my birthday, even  in some extremely limited way.

I desperately  searched old  jeans pockets, winter coat pockets, couch cushions and the floorboards of my car for any loose change I could find.    A four hour seatch resulted in about a buck -50.   I felt something  like a modern day Maccabee.

I walked across the street to a grocery store and bought a package of stale cupcakes in a bargain him.    I didn’t have any candles, so I found a match, lit it, stuck it in the middle of the cupcake and sang the traditional birthday song to myself,…. made a wish, well, it was more of a vow actually…..I  blew out the match, then cried.   I didn’t event eat the cupcake,   I didn’t want to deprive the mold and weavils from enjoying their desert.   So, I tossed it, but not my hopes that there would be better birthdays ahead.

Yes, I’m now 58 and I’ve never been this old before.    And yes,  I’m well aware that I’m no longer the cute, young, petite TV  news anchor.     I’m no longer the younger  smart ass morning show personality.    Yes, my body has morphed with age.  Time and tide have  made their marks.    And as I tried to state in a previous post,  I avoid mirrors .   The frightening possibility of turning to stone after viewing something so horrendous and traumatizing is too great.    So, I avert my gaze and avoid anything that offers a reflection of any kind.

And really, who needs a mirror when you have a blog??    Your physical reflection is one thing,  but a blog….providing you’re self involved enough, will allow you the self- indulgent luxury of seeing deep into within  your psyche, if you dare.   Your psyche can be like a cargo hold of a 777.    It’s stuff  you keep in a certain place and take it with  you everywhere you go.   You keep needlessly adding to it.    Like emotional hoarding.   That is, until you realize  jettisoning most of the emotional jetsam  is best.

You do it by  calling your own bullshit and trying to be a better you because your whole life has been spent not trying hard enough.     It was too easy to be uninvolved and self hating.    It’s all in the psyche,  baby.  That’s where the real Medusa can live and live quite comfortably, if you let her.   Banish her.   Snakey haired women make lousy emotional renters.

One again,  I’m pleased to report that for the first time in forever, I’m looking forward to the next 364 days.

The future Mr. Kendrick should be feeling the anticipatory tingle, too.

I don’t know him, where he his or his hair or eye color.   But I have a certain overview in my head.   He  should be very wealthy, well read, a UT football season ticket holder, an orphan, with no children or ex-wives. He’ll have no sense of smell, no libido whatsoever, he’ll demand  for the sake of space and sanity, we live In separate houses. He has a private jet, and a Maybach with a pilot and driver at my disposal. He’ll feel compelled to put me on all his accounts and will leave me all his money and be willing to sign a prenup I’ve authored.

Either that, or he’ll be a just an extraordinarily  good, honest and kind man who loves me and allows me to love him in return.   He’ll be patient and wise and generous with his time and affection.    From him, I’ll learn how to be a better person,   A better human.

He’ll teach me to see the beauty and magic in ordinary days.

I CANNOT wait.    I’ve always had a thing for certain teachers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Huh?

I think my parents must think I’m a heretic. They’re divorced, but people of great religious faith. Both are Christians, able to quote the Bible at the drop of a yarmulke. I think I had doubts en utero.

I was raised Catholic by a Methodist mother. My parents married in 1952, pre-Vatican II, so my mater had to make an almost Faustian deal with the Church, that any and all children born from her Protestsnt womb, would be baptized Catholic and raised as such.

My father was hardly the zealot he is now and Mother never converted, but during our formative years, she kept her vow to Rome. We were baptized, made our first Communions and Comfirmed, but Pope Paul would’ve publicly pooped in his papal potty had he known that while I went to catechism every week, I also attended Vacation Bible School during the summer. The differences made me self conscious. I would instinctively cross myself after every prayer and at the time, my Catholic version of the Lord’s Prayer ended seconds earlier than everyone else. Back then, we didn’t include the “for thine is the kingdom and the power…..etcetera, etcetera. Beyond that, the Protestants had a far less complicated belief system. It was more about God (read: Jesus) and less in the process itself. By that I mean, as a Catholic, I was beholding to a three-in-one deity structure AND the Church. Often, dogma over scrupture.

As a kid, I was fascinated by magic. I would grow up to call it “special effects” and imagination. I used to love the TV shows, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. I liked the idea of affecting reality with a nose twitch or folding one’s arms and extending them outward while nodding one’s head.

Twitch, Tabitha gets an orange unicorn in her kitchen.

One head bob from the blond broad who the FCC and most of the adults I knew, thought dressed like a tart and BOOM! Dr. Bellows questions his sanity after finding himself in his underwear, standing in Red Square in mid-January. Silly, but to a kid who wants to be anywhere but in small town South Texas in the mid-1960’s, these shows were a haven; a brief respite from the monotony of sameness.

As a kid, I saw a lot of magic in all the Almighty tale. It was like a Catholic version of Darren Stevens’ life without the soundtrack, but with a lot more smiting. Then again, there was Endora.

So, I while I believed in a power greater than me, I had my doubts as a kid about Jeses’ role in the whole thing. I tried to understand God, then the son of ahhod and they threw in the Holy Ghost?? From a non-secular standpoint, going to college only elevated the diminished beliefs I had.

As the years progressed, I’d have dalliances with Catholicism–been there, done that. I even looked into Judaism but I didn’t have the cultural discipline. I read a lot of books and articles, I even talked to people who believed strongly and those who didn’t believe with as much conviction. But I always prayed, at least, in my own way. God was never an issue. Mono the sim in its strictest sense, made sense. I’d have conversations with God. There was no hard core reverence. I omitted the thees and thous and spoke very candidly. These conversations always ended up being conversations with myself. I’m not God, but isn’t God me? I mean, why not? It can’t be like that old axiom–talk to God and you’re praying, but if God answers, you’re mental. Would/ could religion Roth established sciences be that controlling? Would science even give God a flashing glance?

If you can pray at any time and any place and if God is omnipresent, then church is everywhere, right? Are there more psychological things at play with being a member of a congregation? As in, power in numbers combined with a sense of belonging? Huh? If that’s case, then individuality and non-conformity must frighten organized religion. Intellectualism, too or are these things really one in the same??

Again, I ask, huh?

Look, these questions can’t contribute anything new to those fully entrenched in Christianity, Semitism, Islam, Wiccans, to those with their agnostic leanings or the atheists in the world. I know what I know, doubt what I doubt and question everything in between. I’m not smarter, better educated…I’m not more sophisticated. If you don’t share the same quest as I do, that’s fine. I won’t burn you at the stake, confine you in an iron maiden, throw you into a death camp or hijack planes and fly them into tall buildings.

I’ll continue to question everything and apply the logic that seems the most logical to me. I’ll continue to believe in God on my terms and have my “conversations” with Him and Her and I encourage you to do the same, in any form or fashion. And if you ask questions, dare to seek the answers. Stay at home if you must, but imagine boldly. Travel mentally. Read. Connect. Engage.   Be fearless in your pursute to believe what feels right to you.

And above all, don’t read Spinoza on a night when you’re really, really, really unfocused.