Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Finding Jesus through Batman

Last weekend my Sweet Escape and I watched The Dark Knight. There are so many scenes where people are put in impossible situations. Situations where the worst parts of human nature are exposed. It is a pretty intense movie. One of those movies that makes you want to crawl into the screen writer’s brain and visit, just to see where all those dark visions are born. Just visit, not move in for the madness.

In particular, there is one scene of the movie where there are two ferry boats loaded with passengers who are being evacuated from Gotham City. One ferry has convicts, one has regular citizens. The Joker, (oh sweet, Heath Ledger who this movie supposedly drove to madness), has loaded both the boats with bombs. The convicts have the detonator to the everyday citizens' boat, the regular citizens have the detonator to the convicts'. Each ferry full of passengers is told they must blow up the other boat before midnight or both boats will be blown up by The Joker. Oh the drama!

What struck me the most during this scene is the lack of prayer among the passengers. No one seems to bow their head in prayer. There is a mother holding her son, yet I do not see her whispering words of comfort in his ear. She is angry, and afraid. Her son's face is hidden buried into her shoulder. Watching this scene of human struggle, I thought, when a psychopath takes over my city, and pits me against a bunch of convicts, I want to be able to comfort my children with talk of a beautiful life in the beyond. I want to know the prayers to say to comfort my beasties and myself. I want something to hold onto, beside fragile morality, and fear of death.

I turned to my man and said, “This movie makes me want to go to church.”
“You’re finding Jesus through Batman?” he asked with a grin, and yes, and I believe the answer is yes, I am.

This week I went to a different church than last week. I was so ready for some spiritual healing. I picked the beasts up early from their dad’s so they could come with me. This search is for them too. The church is old school beautiful, and we have a little bit of history. The last time I had been in that church I had watched my first love’s coffin be carried down the isle after he shot himself at 16. When I was 15, watching that coffin slowly proceed down the isle, I was not so hungry for God, I was fucking pissed off. God and I are in a different place right now, where I’m a little less egotistical and na├»ve. I'm a lot more jaded and desperate. These days God is so much larger than the controlling, gambler I had him pegged to be when I was a teen. 

Tonight I sat in a pew with my friend Sugah Mama (my friend who had been so amazingly nice about the nits) and the beasts. Things were going well. I was feeling like this could be THE church. I was feeling connected to God and the message on faith. I was feeling the little crack in my heart opening up.

And then they started, and by they, I mean my little beasts, and by little beasts, I mean my sweet beasts who had sprouted cloven hooves and pointing tails, and little horns on their blessed little heads right there as they sat in that pew.  

It started with a little shuffling, you know a little beastie movement, not a big deal. But then 5 year old little beast starts crawling in between me and the pew in front of me. Almost 9 year old big beast started lolling around on the pew. Laying on his sister, laying on the pew, getting down on the floor. And then they started arguing in loud whisper voices. There was also crying from the big beast because little beasts slammed his head into the pew in front of us. At one point little beast was on the floor next to my leg pushing on me and being a general nuisance, and I had this overwhelming desire to kick her, hard.

I was trying to listen to how Abraham gained faith DAMN IT!!! I had a flashback of my mother in church, tight lipped, and frustrated, a defeated look in her eye. The poor woman was just trying to friggin' pray, while my brother, sister, and I did our best to push her to her spiritual limit and make her snap right there in front of the Lord and everybody. She would be a physical buffer between us and our dad. He got to worship in relative quiet. She on the other hand had to worship under the greatest duress. Maybe that's why she's a Unitarian now. Post Traumatic Church Disorder caused by three wicked kids.

I'm sure the people behind me thought I was the meanest mom ever, with my tight lipped whispers, pointing finger, and evil eyes: "Be quiet," "Sit still", "Hush" "GRRRRRRRRRRRR". We slunked out of the service before communion, me with tears in my eyes and a big ole' lump in my throat. As we left the church big beast said, "What? I didn't do anything." And then I felt like kicking him too, hard. Jeez, what a fucking wreck. This is not the compassionate Buddha/Mother Mary that I thought I would be.

This picture says:
We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the spirit intercedes for us
with groans that words cannot express
Romans 8:26 NIV

What would the Don do if his children acted up in church while he was trying to commune with the Lord and be forgiven for his many sins? I'm sure he would've smacked somebody's mouth, but that is not a road I want to take. My mom said, "You can't take it so personally. No one in the church probably cared that your kids were misbehaving."

"I was crying for me!" I wailed on the phone to her (I'm still such a teen drama queen with my mom), "I need this so bad, I want it so much. I'm just too new at this, I can't worship with the beasts right there. I've got get a on solid spiritual ground, and then I can have the patience to teach them how to behave in church." The OSQ got it. She commiserated. She gave good advice.

And so I'm finding my way, and as usual it is messy. I am not the Don, nor Mother Mary, nor the Buddha. I'm more like an exploding, sobbing, desperate, fired up, conflicted, obsessive, joyous, mess. Yeah, that's about how it always rolls with me. I like it complicated and juicy. I think I'll end this post with a prayer/haiku that explains where I am with this whole religion thing:

Dear God, you know me
I will walk this rocky path
Just make sure we laugh

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