Possible gods and goddesses

My friend Luther enjoying a vegan meal downtown from "Food Not Bombs on Pacific Ave.

My friend Luther enjoying a vegan meal downtown from “Food Not Bombs on Pacific Ave.

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which,if you say it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – These are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Earlier in that most glorious of sermons (which would be utterly rejected in most American churches as impractical) Lewis argues that “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

I have been mulling these things over as I walk all over town.

I was supposed to hear an interesting guy’s story yesterday. I had made time to meet him at the St. Francis kitchen so we could walk and talk. But he was so focused on scoring weed as we walked that we never got to it. No harm no foul. I saw after the second stop that he had missile lock and had forgotten about his own fascinating story. I met his friend and pushed on alone to the bus stop. I’ll catch him later. As the Great Reynaldo says “Its not like we have to rush off and catch a flight.”

I have no interest at all in weed or any other substance. I have even started – haha – to look at my berries and nuts as a potential enemy (fat content). I dunno where this “purity” kick came in – It’s not moralistically based; not health-nut based – my guess? Vanity. I wanna be trim again for the ladies when I get back on my feet economically. Now THAT sounds like me when I am confident and relaxed.

And you thought God was making me more saintly…

Well maybe He is. I am more concerned with my language though I live in a place that really only has one verb and one noun.

Maybe that helps. I get tired of everyone being called a “muthafuckaaa,” and anger. I get tired of the lack of vocabulary. I want to yell (like Python) “Intercourse the Penguin!!”

Everyone is pretty much high. It doesn’t really effect them much…I think they are bored, feel a tad futile and there is an undercurrent of very real anxiety.

Say what you will about all the harder aspects of being a Christian (and all the shit that comes with it) I have a Center and it is not me.

*******

My wrestling with Church continues. despite the fact that I do not drink and I have not done so the great majority of the time over the last several years (because I found out I was mentally ill with bi-polar 2 condition, and got the right meds). once people know you used to you are branded because this is WHAT THEY UNDERSTAND. And people do ot seek new understand, they wish, rather, to force all phenomenon into old understandings.

Its like going to a podiatrist for a broken arm. Say what you will about your arm and show him the swelling fracture and even x-rays…he will still tell you your problem is your still your feet. It is all he knows.

I meet addicts every day – not to weed – but to cigarettes. One friend complains that his woman has a $400 a month nicotine habit that he has to support. He looks forlorn. How can he think of saving for an apartment. How can he give up certain “other” activities (selling ganga) and get needed supplies and cigarettes? He looks to see if I judge him. I don’t. I used to be an addict before the drugs releaved any need to self-medicate.

Well-meaning people insist I still am. But they know nothing about addiction. An addict has a life-long obsession with their substance that I do not share. I have no such connection. I don’t think about it at all. I sit across a table from someone drinking and it has no effect on me at all. My brain has exactly what it has always wanted: balance.

The sad fact is, people who go to AA have to replace the obsession with alcohol (that never, for them goes away) with an obsession with meetings. It saves their physical lives – IF they are part of the 18% who make it. The other 82% will die from alcoholism.

Those are the facts. And anyone who says otherwise is full of skabula.

So when friends or well-meaning church leaders who I have confided in about my PAST come along and wish to impose AA on me (when I am not drinking at all) I wonder why they would want to daily remind me of alcohol and enroll me in a program that has an 82% failure rate?

If I had the mental obsession (which is real for millions) then I would say 18% is better than NO percent.

But my psychiatrist has given me medications that give me something more like an 82% chance at success with no mental obsession at all – no depressing meetings –  and all I had to deal with was my PTSD from my time being homeless in Portland (that as my vulnerable spot.)

And guess where I am now?

Homeless – right where I need to be to deal with the FEAR. And I am as clear as day.

Do they care about this?

Naw. “Lets fix him anyway.”

Sighs.

Fortunately I am a man now, and not a boy. Boys get intimidated when love is witheld or they are criticized by a group even if what is being proposed is preposterous and bad-thinking.

I was boy-ish in Portland – where I got my PTSD.

I had pneumonia. They took me to the hospital and did x-rays and it was conformed. White streaking…I was told to take meds and rest until I was better.

When I got back to this “Christian Mission” I was herded the next day into a room with the four leaders (they always gang up on me…what do they think I am going to do?) I was told I had two choices and seriously – get these choices!)

I could 1) go upstairs and rest and get better – THEN LEAVE (with no money, help, friends, support – just let loose in Portland in February); or 2) I could work sick and STAY.

Now, does that make ANY SENSE to you at all?

Had I been a man (like I am today) I would have gone upstairs and rested then left (or waited for God to perhaps changes their cro-magnon minds). But I was boyish and idealist – so I toughed it out and worked with pneumonia for a month – sick as hell. Totally traumatized and it undermined any trust and the program I was working there (this was before my proper diagnosis was discovered.)

I month or two later I crashed (probably on purpose to get out now that I was strong again) and then I really went through hell and trauma on the streets of Portland – almost dying on two occasions.

Thus the PTSD we are now defusing for good. When I am done HERE I will not fear homelessness again, and the Enemy, if he comes at me with it again as a threat will get this answer:

“Sure. That’d be great! I’d love to go and do face-to-face ministry with a whole group of people who will respond to Christ – Love it. When do we start Asshat?”

As Paul said, there is a time to”put away childish things.” I believe, for me, that time has come.

*******


Lewis has the solution to how we should view the Homeless and marginalized and we just are not getting it. The Weight of Glory sermon nails it.

But we makes distinctions here that are artificial. I make them too, but less nd less as time goes on. We have to start seeing the reflected Imago Dei in everyone, because Lewis is right…-people are daily moving towards one destination or the other and we are heloing them whether we like it or not – I am, You are.

Everything else you are working on is already gone…”waste and void, waste and void, and darkness over the face of the dep” (Eliot). But these people – all of them, are eternal. It is ALL that matters.

I like to joke that I am just as homeless as backpackers are. And I have an abode (long-term) that many do not have at all. That is utter homelessness, whereas I am found.

 

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