Saturday, July 22, 2006

A waterlily photographed in my backyard pond. And by pond I mean stock tank. And for those not from agricultural areas, a stock tank is a big metal vat farmers and cattle(wo)men fill with water and put in the pen with their livestock so the cattle have something to drink from. Not the chic-est thing, but the lilies are lovely.

Yesterday I was awakened by the sound of falling rain. I went outside to smoke the first cigarette of the day and to see exactly how hard it was raining. The drops were so big and fell so fast that they ricocheted off the bricks on the patio like hail. When I opened the door, I noticed it--it was cool. A cold front had moved in overnight, and the heat wave broke like one hears of fevers breaking. I could almost hear the plants in the backyard breathing a sigh of relief--I could hear the whole city groaning in unison, a groan of pure pleasure, like awakening after a long illness and a fitful, fevered sleep to find that your body has cooled and you can stand again. Grace falling like rain. Healing poured out.

It's these mundane occurances that make me believe in something bigger than myself--God, if you want to call it that. I'm a Christian, I guess, though not a very good one; I attend an Episcopalian church but am also at home in a Quaker meetinghouse or a Buddhist meditation hall. But what good are labels? I simply believe (or perhaps simply is the wrong word--maybe 'fundamentally' is what I mean, though without the implications of Fundamentalism) that there is a Divinity running through the world, what philosophers would call a ''first cause,'' what theologians would call God, what secular humanists would call "goodness" or "love." For the most part it is beyond our comprehension; in the face of it we're like a blind woman looking at the sun. But there are times when some of the veil slips away, and for a moment we see it clearly, feel it utterly, like a blind woman feels the sun on her face.

I was raised in a fairly conservative Methodist church, and my parents are both Orthodox Christians--also very conservative; most people who hear the word "Christian" immediately call Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson to mind (heads up: while I don't hate either of those men, since I am making a concerted effort not to hate anyone--I really, really, really don't like them. To be fair, they probably feel the same way about me). To many people, Christianity is synonymous with judgement, hypocrisy, sexism, homophobia, fundamentalism. Perhaps that's why I don't mention it much. During the schoolyear especially, my Christianity is explicitly stated in only a few ways (though I hope the basic message of love and acceptance Jesus preached is apparent in all my actions): Every Sunday, I get up early, put on some nice clothes, and go to church. Added bonus--since I'm already up, I frequently get the first pick of brunch foods when I get back home. On Ash Wednesday, I show up for all my classes with a little bit of schmutz on my forehead from the early-morning service. I wear a little cross around my neck sometimes, along with my St. Brighid medal. So what? You ask.

So...I just wanted to put out there that I am a Christian, and that I am also gay; that I also have friends who have had abortions, and who I've loved and supported because they were making the best choice they could; that I lean waaay to the left, on everything from nationalized health care to immigration policy to women's rights; that I believe that the antagonistic relationship between religion and science is stupid at best and dangerous at worst (look up the debate on making Plan B emergency contraception available over the counter, or the FDA putting the kibosh on an HPV vaccine for 'moral reasons'...which effectively translates into "let the little sinners get cancer"). Liberal Christians exist. Don't be afraid. And more on the FDA sometime in the near future.

1 comment:

jehzavere said...

There could not be a more beautiful way to desribe the morning rain than the way you did - I too, awoke that same morning to the same rain, but did not have the wisdom to record that feeling in words.
I found your blog after googling "the rebirth of wonder", a phrase that I found interesting on a fiction writer's blog, and somehow stumbled here. Funny, because I live in Overland Park and attend UMKC and JCCC. I won't blather anymore, but I felt compelled to at least comment and say that you are such an eloquent, lyrical writer...and take lovely pictures too. Keep it up, you're very talented!