Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2008
in Family, Philosophy, Rantings
I had one of those ‘almost’ conversations the other night. It was an ‘almost’ conversation because it didn’t actually happen, but I imagined it taking place for a full 20 minutes before I decided against broaching it. This was unfortunate because I was watching one of the Sopranos final series at the time, and I’m always too embarrassed to ask the Accidental Terrorist to rewind after I’ve had a zone-out session. It’s a very flaky thing to do, and saying something like; “Sorry, love, could you press pause for a while, I have some serious thinking to do…” sounds so pretentious.
The conversation would have started with this question:
“Hey babe, after all those long talks about religion and belief and all that, I’m feeling a little hypocritical. How bad would it really be if we decided not to celebrate our family stuff through the church at all?”
The conversation would have lasted a good three hours, and I think I already know where it would end – this is why it was an ‘almost’ conversation. See?
Our kids still haven’t been Christened. Well that’s not entirely true… Laughing Boy was very sick as a baby and we were faced with a numbing ‘just in case’ situation. A nun called into his hospital room one morning with an old brown suitcase. Inside was a bible, holy water, some lace to represent a Christening gown, and other various religious accoutrements. We had asked her only to give him a blessing, but instead she went the whole hog. It was quite sad at the time seeing as his daddy wasn’t even there.
As for puppychild, well… I’ve just been putting it off. She’s three now, and my dear mum keeps offering to help me arrange a local Christening, saying it’s as easy as dropping a hot spud. She even offered up her garden for a small party. I just can’t pick up the damn phone to start the ball rolling.
Then there’s the wedding. Being the Queen of my family, it’s up to me to arrange such a gig. I’ve never been one for the white wedding and the flowers and the horses and the horses d’ouvres and all that. A massive cash injection for something that’s supposed to be intimate? I don’t get it. I’d rather go abroad or do something different… a scuba wedding maybe.
I blamed myself, this laziness bug that lives with me. Time speeds by and before you know it, you’re three years behind yourself. This is partially true, but I’ve been listening to this other voice that’s telling me to be true to myself and to my family lately. You’d be lying! it tells me. You can’t renounce something you don’t believe in! Your sins are your own, there for learning, not for shame! You’re feeding that poor priest a whole lot of crap, but what did he ever do to you? Be honest!!! Strap on a pair!!!
I played guitar for a local choir recently. I lasted two weeks. I couldn’t stand the hypocrisy of what the priest was saying… something about the passover, about Israelites having to slaughter livestock to save their first-born from the wrath of God. Everyone was chanting and mumbling like a gang of Templars, leaving me wondering whether it was I who was blind, or all the others? I remember mass as a child, how awesome it all was… people dressed up in finery, pictures of torture on the walls, wine, candles, and a man who was murdered horribly on his 33rd birthday. How could a kid not want to know more?
Now though, I think I know enough.
Why is it so hard to find a way to celebrate family affairs in a way that feels right? The God I believe in, the God of two halves that set this whole comedic opera in play for whatever reason, hasn’t given me any signs yet. An even bigger problem yet is the breakaway. To claim that the Church and God are two different things altogether, is like disrespecting your elders, but on a massive scale to me. I think this is why so many people have Santa syndrome. They continue holding masses for family occasions, they leave their auntie’s present of a Sacred Heart on the wall, and carry on blessing themselves as they pass cemeteries. If they stop and listen to logic it all might go away and their family structure would dissolve. They would be frowned upon, and would fear that the gates of heaven would close, even though they probably have the key in their pockets anyway.
Ireland needs more options. It feels like we’re sitting in the front row of class here… we’re being watched like a hawk with no chance of passing any notes to the Buddhists in the back row. The Muslims are outside sunning themselves on their prayer mats, the Taoists have already graduated, and the Extremists have jumped out the window. It feels like there’s no-one else to talk to except the Protestants – even they seem to be seeing things a whole lot clearer than us Catholics.
Would anyone object to my starting my own ‘Church of the Open Mind’? Do you think it would catch on?