Papa Don’t Preach…

A few days back… I almost choked on my coffee!

It is very rare that I get asked about my religious beliefs—much more my preying, er… PRAYING habits. The queries were alright with me, actually—no biggie, really— it, in fact, somehow prompted me to do a little bit of introspection… another welcome distraction from my mundane day-to-day routine.

Having a religion is pretty much like having a dick, you know… it’s good to have one, but you don’t need to wag it around for everyone to see… much more shove it down other people’s throats without their expressed permission.

I am not religious per se; but, I am very spiritual… and a devout catholic. It is in knowing my mortal limitations that made me accept the existence of a higher being—people across the globe refer to Him (or maybe Her) as Yahweh, Allah, Brahma, The Lord Buddha, etc… and I call mine GOD: Omniscient. Omnipotent. Omnipresent. I have always believed that:

The beginning of wisdom is the awe of Lord Jehovah and the knowledge of the Righteous Ones is understanding. — Proverbs 9:10, The Aramaic Bible in Plain English

Oooopssss… did I say ’devout catholic’? Yes, I am… but not the Roman ‘type’ of catholic. If you notice, I set it in lower case, as I want to emphasize that my being catholic is more about being universal, comprehensive. Y’see, I strongly believe in a ‘universal religion’—one that is anchored on tolerance and respect for others’ creed, race, beliefs, practices.

In a capsule, my concept of faith, and religion can be summed up in this poem by Carole Bos, taken from her book of poetry, Life is a Non-Stop Event:

I met a man whose philosophy of life didn’t seem to offer much:

At sixty-two, my high-level executive days are over.
After thirty-seven years, my wife and I are unhappy.
My children are failures.
I think I am, too.
When it’s time, I’m going to end it like Hemingway.

What made me happy, he wondered.
My faith.
My marriage.
My family.
My career.

He scoffed at the concept of faith:
I came from crap;
I’m going back to crap.
If I die like Hemingway, at least I decide when.

He laughted when I said
I didn’t come from crap;
I’m not going back to crap.
There’s no reason to blow off your head like Hemingway.

His response was that
The only point of life
Is just to live it
Before we disappear into oblivion.

I asked him about
The point of living –
If just living life
Merely gets us to oblivion.

He said
It doesn’t matter.
He was satisfied with his lack of faith
In anything but the here and now.

I said
It does matter.
Faith in nothing but the here and now
Is no faith.
He pondered my question:
If you really have faith in nothing,
Which has brought you only sorrow,
How is your lack of faith better than my faith,
Which has brought me only joy?

Intrigued, he smiled but said nothing.
We became friends, though.
Maybe that was his answer.
I still wonder
Why he told me about his inner turmoil,
Why he told me about his pain,
Why he told me about his despair.
Did he think it would bring a measure of peace?
Did he think it would ease his pain?
Did he think I could somehow help lessen his despair?

I know
Another person’s understanding does offer some peace,
Kindness does ease pain,
Candid talk does help lessen despair
When someone openly questions
The meaning of existence.
Maybe my friend saw in me
The power of personal faith.
Maybe that recognition made him question
The strength of his doubt.

I often wonder
Whether our talks mattered as much to him
As they mattered to me.

In the end, we will be judged by the things we did… and not the beliefs we profess… and I can be irreverent in my views.


About Seeing with Brahmin eyes
My sense of humor can be keen, sarcastic, silly or corny -- sometimes all at once. I enjoy meeting new people with no preconceived ideas about what or what is not possible. You get much more out of life by being open minded and willing. I'm an easy going, good-natured person who loves life and loves people. I'm both optimistic and realistic and pretty objective when it comes to assessing situations, events, etc. In general I am a very positive person and you'll usually find we with a smile on my face.

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