Sunday, May 22, 2011
Saturday afternoon the 21st of May I woke up from a short nap in glorious spring sunshine. The windows of my bedroom were open, allowing the cool and pleasantly damp spring air into the room. My soft, purring cat was nestled in the crook of my arm for warmth. The sunlight was a glorious pale yellow; I had to force myself out of bed to get ready for the evening. I got dressed and hopped on the subway, where the train clattered through the tunnels as the witching hour of 6:00 pm passed unnoticed by anything other than the red digital readout hanging from the ceiling above us. As I emerged from the subway in Manhattan the last drops of a sudden Spring shower gave way to fading twilight. I met my adorable boyfriend for dinner and then a concert of new music including three wonderful pieces played on toy pianos and kitchen mixing bowls. A reception after the concert featured chocolates and champagne, a delicious mix. We took a cab home through city streets crowded with people dressed for life's celebrations. We went to bed, and then awoke, the next day arriving on cue just like the previous one did, just as tomorrow will.
The gift of the late afternoon sunshine, warm but not yet summery hot, had filled me with a sense of well-being, a gratitude for life's small blessings. I found myself happily considering the good things in my life: the love of friends and companions, enough work to pay the bills, a comfortable home, the sounds of music filling my world, my mind creatively spinning and my body still pulsing. And I felt, well, a sense of rapture. A momentary sense of joy and peace and perfection with the world.
I'm not sorry that my world didn't end. I was pretty sure it wasn't going to. And even I, a non-Christian, know that Bible being waved around by some desperately crazy, angry and hateful people says pretty explicitly that while this life, this world, is indeed temporary, nobody can know when the end is coming. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. That's Matthew 24:36, by the way.
What kind of people are these doomsayers? Their fantasies of revenge, of self-righteousness, of warnings gone unheeded, of threats and and murder on a super-genocidal scale are almost pornographic in their visceral expression. The doom-filled prophecies of crazy fundamentalists aren't anything I recognize as spirituality or religion, they're just mean-spirited and hateful. These judgment-filled harangues are corrupt and ignorant; small-minded above all, revealing people utterly closed off to the reality of the world with all its unknowable beauty and wonder and even its often painful tragedy and loss. These people are afraid of living, afraid of being judged because they themselves are casting their eyes of bigotry about them reflecting outward their deep hate at their own humanity and the humanity of others.
I believe pretty firmly in God. I won't recount here the long journey that convinced me of that reality, and I'm grateful for the peace and blessings that my spiritual journey to a place of understanding has brought me. And I recognize a sort of miraculous randomness that bombs are not falling on my head or that I'm not living in a gutter or an open field. This has nothing to do with me being a better or worse person than anyone else, only a chain of cosmic accidents that could change abruptly tomorrow. While I have known or known of some very bad people over the years — heck I write about them here all the time — I have yet to see evidence for evil outside the human heart. Earthquakes and tsunamis and tornadoes and wild carnivorous animals and predatory microbes: these are just the more painful of the miracles of the living world that happen, well, for no other reason than because they have come into being.
The consciousness animating our bodies at this moment right now gets a very brief time in the world to make some choices. It's easy to make mistakes, to waste time, and sadly it's easiest of all to wind up being the victim of other bodies making very bad choices for us. I'm not trying at all to sound like a Polyanna; sometimes life is plenty rough and often short.
Everybody dies. That's just...life. And not the best part. But if you spend your life focused solely on the end of that life what you're really doing is wasting your precious moments. So to all the doom-sayers and evangelical prophets and radio preachers who have nothing better to do that waste their time spewing hate or self-righteousness I say, please leave me alone. I'm busy.
(I found the whole-lot-of-crazy art at the top of the post — entitled "True Rapture" — at the "Questions and Thoughts" blog. You simply must click on it to see it larger. I can't even begin to guess at the cray-cray symbolism involved there.)