Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Signs from Above and Below

I'm getting old. I know I'm getting old because lately, I've found myself questioning my beliefs regarding God and the meaning of life. That, and gray hair, aching joints, and the popping sounds each of those joints make every time I move. It's always encouraging as a massage therapist when the eighty year old client you're working on laughingly claims you snap, crackle, and pop more than he does. But mostly, it's the belief thing, and it's got me wondering if there really is a point to this crazy thing we call life.

In the movies, when a man has a midlife crisis, he really begins to worry about death and what comes after. He also buys a toupee, trades his clunker for a fast car, and has numerous affairs with women half his age. At least, that's what Hollywood has led me to believe. I've got a boyfriend who satisfies all my needs (i.e. He buys me coffee when I run out...oh, and the sex! He makes with the sex. Can't forget that.)I don't have the money to maintain the car I own, much less buy a midlife crisis mobile. And although female pattern baldness runs on both sides of my family, I don't think I'll be needing a wig anytime soon...probably.

My comb over fools everyone just fine.

That just leaves the question of eternity and what it holds.

For those of you who don't know me, I'll give you a quick recap of my religious history: I was born into a Pentecostal/Assembly of God family. We were what I like to call "Submarine" Christians in that we only seemed to "resurface" (go to church) when there was some kind of crisis afoot. Between the ages of cognitive childhood and skeptical puberty, my range of belief ran the gamut of radical Christian to lackadaisical believer and back again. I believed what I was told back then even if, at times, those beliefs weren't particularly strong. I also questioned what I believed, but since I was told this was the devil planting the seeds of doubt in my brain, I tried like hell to weed those suckers out by shoving said questions to the back of my mind.

A shaky belief system is very much like a cluttered, overflowing closet bursting with stuff, "stuff" being "doubts". The more stuff you have, the harder it is to close the damned door. The harder it is to close the damned door, the harder it is to sleep for fear the closet monster living there will emerge from said closet to eat your face off. I'm not sure what the closet monster represents in this analogy, but I did indeed have a few sleepless nights when I couldn't help praying the following: "Okay, God. What gives? If other people don't believe in you like I believe in you, they go to hell, right? But I was taught to believe in you, and they weren't. So why should they? And if it's not their fault they don't believe in you, why should they have to suffer for it? And by the way, zits. Not really digging on the puberty thing. When does it end, dear God? WHEN DOES IT END?!?! Amen."

Fast-forward to my late teens/early twenties. This was my time of experimentation.

Note to my male readers: No.

I started dabbling with different belief systems. For a while, I was a Wiccan. Not for a long while and not a very good one. Mostly, I was one of those idiots who watches a movie with witches in it and tries to do a few spells because it makes them feel edgy and cool. And I joined a live-action Vampire the Masquerade game, which doesn't seem relevant to this topic, but when you've been raised to think that any kind of D&D type game is satanic, it's akin to donning a black robe and sacrificing cute little bunnies in the name of the almighty Goat Lord. After awhile, I came to the conclusion that if there was a God, He/She probably couldn't give two shits how I worship Him/Her just so long as I lived a good life and didn't treat other people like crap. I call it the Bill and Ted Philosophy of Life. Be excellent to each other and party on, dudes. All that good stuff.

I still believe pretty much the same thing, but the older I get, the more I wonder if there really is a God or if the afterlife is all a big nothing. It never used to bother me that this might be a possibility. I once saw this movie where a scared Atheist who feared death was consoled by his girlfriend when she reminded him that feelings can't live in a vacuum. If what comes next is nothing, then there's nothing to fear. But at the same time, I kind of hope there is something beyond this life. I'm not talking about a heaven filled with instrument playing angels floating on clouds or anything like that...unless they play like Patrick Contreras. Because that would be awesome.

Pictured Above: The awesome.


I just want there to be a point to all this. Maybe it's the writer in me. I like tidy endings. I won't be heartbroken if there isn't one, because, you know, nothingness equals a lack of ability to feel disappointment, but if there is an afterlife and it isn't all hellfire and brimstone and my old pastor flipping me the bird as I sink into an eternity of never ending lines that go nowhere (anyone who has ever waited in line at the DMV knows what I'm talking about here), it would be nifty to know there was some previously unfathomable reason for all the madness other than, "Because the bible tells me so," or the old favorite, "I was testing you."

So with that in mind, I decided to do a little testing myself. I prayed for the first time in years. I prayed for a sign just to see what would happen. I wasn't really expecting much, but the next day, I saw this as I was driving to work:

Pictured Above: Banner reading "Believe". Not Pictured: Winning lotto numbers. Still, well played, God. Well played.

I couldn't help but laugh my Agnostic ass off. Not that this has convinced me one way or another that there is a Supreme Being. A skeptic asking for a sign from God is as pointless as a preacher passing out Chick tracts at a strip club. There will always be room for doubt, especially when I found out the whole thing had something do with a football game. Still, it was slightly comforting to know that if there is a God, He/She has an interesting sense of humor. Not so comforting is the fact that said God probably isn't much of a Saints fan.

Cue the angry comments from rabid Whodats, and may God have mercy on my pathetic soul!

2 comments:

  1. I've often thought that if there is a God, he/she has to have a sense of humor. There are just too many weird and effed-up things in the world for that not to be the case. :)

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    1. Yes. The belly button being a prime example. And nipples on men. I mean, seriously! Why?

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