Sunday, August 19, 2012

IN BLIND FAITH WE TRUST

I read the Bible on a regular basis. Not because I believe in the infallibility of a book written and edited by men; that's reason enough to be suspicious.

I read the Bible because, like a good Steinbeck or Hemingway or Capote, I find great lessons in the written word. They're not always the ones we're supposedly supposed to know (the Old Testament deity is manic-depressive, for starters), but the storytelling is money and that Jesus was one helluva public speaker. And Revelation is an acid trip without the strychnine aftertaste and clenched jaw.

Lately I've been trying to focus on faith — in humans, not in some supernatural big-G entity. It's always been difficult for me to have faith in people. The reporter in me is naturally suspicious. The cynic in me says faith is a losing battle and a worthless effort.

But the Pollyanna in me wants to trust, wants to believe. I read the accounts of some of the men who followed Jesus and marvel at their ability to accept the impossible. They may have reeked from lack of regular bathing, and some of them probably sounded quite insane, what with all their talk about miracles and sudden, permanent changes in the heart.

But they believed. They set aside their doubts. Some, like Thomas, needed an extra foot in the ass before getting with the program, but once he saw his boss walking around with holes in his hands, Thomas was all-in.

That's where I am this weekend — fighting the instinct to overthink, and working hard to accept people and their kindnesses. In silence it was all too easy to believe the worst about people; it was a cinch to see them as willful and mean of spirit.

That wasn't (and isn't) fair. It's not cool to be cruel, but that's what I've been. That's what I've done, I'm ashamed to say.

Sometime in the middle of watching Thor on Friday night, I felt myself relaxing, letting go. I let myself enjoy the time without filling my head with junk bullshit about what happens next.

I told myself to have faith that everything will be alright. I smiled and let myself do something I haven't done in months.

I had fun.

Ermahgerd, I almost said out loud, but then I stopped myself because like Cobain, I'm too busy acting like I'm not naive. Keeping up the appearance of being a cynical smart-ass remains important. But it's more important to have grace and believe. It helps remind me that life is falling gently into place, like an autumn leaf floating to the ground.

Like that leaf, I don't know where I'll land. But I have faith the currents of life will not be unkind.

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