Sex, Death, Rock-n-Roll- and It’s Eternity In There

image

I never really made it a point to contemplate the paradox of sex and death.  Perhaps someone ten years (and more, sadly) removed from the enjoyment of carnal pleasure isn’t qualified to comment, but I still live, breathe and dream. I have desires whether I can act on them or not.

The French have a way of making things that can sound vulgar in English a little more mysterious and exotic. A ménage a trois doesn’t sound as bad as a threesome, even though it means exactly the same thing.  So while calling an orgasm la petite mort (the little death) can seem a bit melodramatic and bordering on morbid, it is certainly apropos.

image

These things usually hit me when I least expect it, if not in unbidden memories, then in dreams.

Old Dr. Freud would be having a heyday with my dreams.  The things I find myself embroiled in (in dreams, that is) that would leave me shocked and mortified in the waking world are beyond the pale.  Which may be why they are safely relegated to dreams. The things I imagine are just too impossible for reality, and I will not attempt to chronicle them here.

dream after dream

Yes, Dream. After Dream (the Journey album) is awesome.  My dreams are just bizarre.  And rated X.

Many years ago, Stephen King wrote a short story called The Jaunt. It was about a scientist who discovered a virtually cost-free way to teleport people through time and space.  The only problem is that living things would die shortly after being “jaunted”- unless they were put under anesthetic.  At the end of the story, the man telling the story to his children awakes in horror as his son went through the Jaunt awake- and the son had aged by decades and decades and gone quite mad, before he dropped dead.

Before the son dropped dead his last words were, “It’s eternity in there.”

Of course The Jaunt’s version of eternity isn’t a positive one, so it’s probably not the best illustration of that moment where time stands still and the universe is simply two, but it’s a similar concept.  There is a dimension beyond time, for good or ill.

bennyhill cupid

When I was growing up I was given the impression that sex was The Ultimate Sin and the only thing worse than utilitarian procreational-only married sex is murder. It didn’t help that Mom is old-school Catholic (and I mean pre-Vatican II) and Dad is more or less a lapsed Regular Baptist. Both of their traditions will drill it in your head that you are better off dead than to have sex and enjoy it.

indulgences

Yes, Christians are hypocrites, just like everyone else.

Good “Christian soldiers” are allowed to have sex only if they are married to each other, the lights are out, the only position is man-on-top missionary style, they only do it because they’re trying to make a baby, and they aren’t allowed to enjoy it.

disappointed-parents

We did what?  For that? Why?

Since I never really had a desire to go out and kill people, (at least not a desire to kill anyone that overrides my fear of arrest and inevitable incarceration) then for me, sex was the only “mortal sin” that had any allure to it.  And it had a LOT of allure to it when I was younger.  I freely admit it. I just had a really hard time finding suitable, complicit males.  That was probably a blessing in disguise, and nature’s way of chlorinating the gene pool to some extent.

ride with hitler

I’m not into carpooling, because I’d rather “ride with Hitler” than with the friendly neighborhood serial killer. I like having my car all to myself.

My son doesn’t get the sex=mortal sin concept because I made a conscious effort not to represent it to him that way.  My mother may have given me the “dirty duty” speech, but I didn’t pass that along, except for comedic effect, when he was much, much older.

The more a parent makes a “forbidden fruit” sound absolutely vile and horrible, the more likely the offspring are to run right out and try it to see if it’s as horrible as Mom and Dad contend.  As much as possible, I tried to give him the rational approach to life, as in yes, sex is good, but with certain boundaries.  Such as “try not to bang ex-strippers,” “wrap that rascal,” and “avoid venereal diseases.”

syphilis

So where did they get it?  The dance hall?

There is good reason for caution in the pursuit of all things amorous. The 1980s taught us that the anti-sex crowd had a point: sex with the wrong partner can kill you.

aids

I guess once they give you AIDS, retribution is sort of pointless.

For centuries humanity has known the fear and shame of venereal diseases, and the possibility of a lifetime of pain or even an untimely death for a moment of pleasure are quite real.

Even given the potential risks involved with sexual congress, I don’t think I can agree with the lights-out missionary-position sex-for-procreation-only crowd.  I do believe in caution in guarding one’s body as well as one’s heart and spirit, but not in total denial.

There is a certain distasteful and soul-killing element in the “friends with benefits” mentality, just as there is a distasteful and soul-killing element in the outright rejection of something that is a gift and a blessing in the proper context.

When the person and the moment is right, surrender to that universe of two.  Savor, enjoy, revel, and live, and thank God for that rare opportunity.

It’s eternity in there.

“Normal?” – Not My Relatives! Wanna Pet My Kid’s Skunk?

steve-o and astro

Yes.  It’s a skunk. Yes. It is sleeping atop my offspring.

I am more of a dog person than anything.  I like cats too, and I have cats, but to me there is nothing like the relationship one can have with a dog.

I have no idea what got the POMC started in on skunks, other than he really doesn’t connect with cats, and he’s somewhat freaky about dogs. He was dog bit rather severely when he was nine.  His right hand might look normal now, but that dog chewed it up like burger meat and he has permanent nerve damage.  Dogs have pretty much given him the creeps ever since, which really sucks.

ferret

He had ferrets in high school, much to my mother’s disgust, because ferrets have a funk.  Even I can smell ferret funk, which means they must smell pretty nasty to most people.  Odor aside, they just never really thrilled me much.  I’ve heard them described as “cat snakes,” which is about right.  Dinky, sneaky little bastards as far as I’m concerned.

skunk

In the skunk’s defense, he is de-scented and the only thing about him that really smells is his shit.  Skunk shit is nasty, nasty, nasty.  The skunk himself, however, is very clean and doesn’t really have a smell to him.

Even so, I’d rather deal with a dog or a cat.  Skunks have sensitive digestive systems and special nutritional needs. They have to have their food specially prepared (sort of like feeding a toddler) unlike a dog or cat who can eat prepackaged dog or cat food and be cool with it.  It’s also a real pain in the hiney to find a vet who will deal with skunks.  Their anatomy and physiology is nothing like dogs or cats, so the vets that will work with them generally cost up the wazoo.

exotic vet

Most vets don’t want to see anything that isn’t a cat or a dog.  I can’t say I blame them.

Skunks are a vector for rabies in the wild, which is enough to scare off most people from owning them.  However, the truth is that the only way for any mammal to get rabies is to be bitten by something with rabies.   Domestic, captive born skunks don’t have rabies, and won’t get rabies unless something with rabies bites them.  Captive born and kept indoors, skunks are just as safe to keep as a pet (and not a rabies risk!) as an indoor cat.

wpid-20150204_050005.jpg

Harmless as Jezebel? I don’t give my indoor cats rabies shots because there’s no way for them to get bitten by something that’s rabid.

Lucy

The dogs do get rabies shots because a.) they go outside and therefore in theory can be bitten by something rabid, and b.) state law requires it.

I am one of those weird people who can really go off on bizarre tangents at times.  I bought – and read with fascination-  this book some while back- Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus..  It’s a compelling read on a rather off the wall subject.  I will have to let the illustrious offspring borrow this one if he’s in the mood for some enlightening late night reading. Of course my tastes in literature are mostly non-fiction (science and history) and often tend to gravitate toward the macabre.

I don’t think I have one “normal” relative.  Not one.  My son passes for normal most of the time, but they are all certifiable.

Mom is probably the one that’s the closest to the cuckoo’s nest- she’s bi-polar with a heaping helping of anxiety, OCD, and extreme naïveté to go along with it.  Jerry is a laundry list of fun beginning with adult ADHD, Helpless Man syndrome, and ending with a rip roaring case of what I call “functional drunk.”

Dad’s gotten a lot more fun since he’s gotten old. It wouldn’t surprise me that like his own father he decides now that he’s 70 years old that, “I’m not old. I’m middle aged.” Nobody had the heart to tell Grandpa when he turned 70 that it was highly unlikely he’d see 140, but he did live to be 91.   I guess it’s all about your attitude.

There’s a phenomenon with some older people where their frontal lobe (the “traffic cop” of the brain) sort of wears out and doesn’t screen one’s conversation as thoroughly as it once did, or probably should.

So Dad, who used to be rather tight-lipped and taciturn, has gotten rather cheeky as he ages.  His oh-so scathing commentary is starting to remind me of my grandmother and great-grandmother (ironically my mother’s mother and grandmother, go figure) and it’s a hoot. It drives Mom nuts, on the rare occasion she actually gets the reference and/or the double entendre. I’m glad that most of the time it goes over her head, for her own sanity and well being.

Mom has her own special brand of near-senility which is even more creepy than my Dad flipping off traffic.  She has always gravitated to the mega-weird parts of Catholicism which is downright scary, but the older she gets the more she watches EWTN, goes to Mass and Confession, and is grabbing on that rosary.  Normally I would say religious disciplines would be a good thing, but she gets Really Weird with it.  She thought that if she left EWTN on all the time full blast that the POMC would see the Catholic light and become a priest.  Never mind that he’s pretty much agnostic and really creeped by “men in dresses.”

To top that off, she’s also blithely ignorant that it’s really, really gauche to ask someone who is a confessional Lutheran and who has done a lot of theological and spiritual soul searching to come on down to the Catholic cathedral to venerate some dead saint’s bones.  Apparently the Catholic school she went to didn’t teach too much about Martin Luther, the 95 Theses, and the Reformation.

I had to decline the bone-gazing and necromancy out of conscience, but as far as she knows I declined because I had to do laundry.  I’d rather tell a little white lie – though I really did do laundry- than go through a detailed theological dissertation on why I don’t venerate saints’ bones.  I don’t need to hurt her feelings.

Even the POMC is borderline OCD. His car and motorcycle both are testament to that.

Both of my sisters could be called “castrating bitches,” due to the fact that they both can run a man like a railroad.

And here I sit with my own frailties and funky wiring.

Short Attention Span Theatre, House Hunting, and Feminine Mystique?

house

I love old Victorian architecture, but not being “handy” – this would be a bad idea, at least for me.

 

Steve-o is finally bound and determined to buy a house.  It’s probably a good idea, since Mom is getting even nuttier than normal.  I know it’s getting bad for him when she leaves her TV on the EWTN (the 24/7 all-Catholic, all the time,) channel full blast all the time.  I know she’s trying to work the Catholic brownie point system- and the older she gets the more paranoid she gets about it- but Steve-o’s not Catholic.  If she’s looking for a conversion candidate so she can earn points for redeeming a heathen, I can think of much easier prey.

touching

If Mom only knew.  ALL guys do it.

All of his religious instruction took place in a Lutheran church (where “self abuse” and/or contraception are not generally considered sins), and even so, he’s not a particularly religious kind of guy.  Wigging him out on the more bizarre points of Catholicism, which you will get a real education on if you watch EWTN for very long, is NOT going to result in him converting to Catholicism and joining the priesthood.

catholic youth

Major Logo FAIL.  In So Many Ways…

I am surprised he’s not having nightmares similar to the ones I had as a child over some of the more bizarre teachings.  He likes women and the horizontal mambo way too much for that noise.  He is at a point in his life where he is really questioning the existence of God and there is nothing apart from the power of the Holy Spirit Himself that will be able to bring him to faith.  Even then, sincerely it would take an Act of God to get him to even consider going back to church- any Christian church.  Right now spiritually he is rather injured and cynical.  He’s at that difficult point of finding it hard to believe in God because he is thinking, “How can a good God let me down- and let me hurt so bad?”  He’s still getting over being rejected by his daughter’s mother, and even though he would never admit how much that crushed him, that was a really deep wound.

I know this because I have been there too, as far as being rejected and feeling as if God abandoned me.  I went through that doubt and angst for about seven years at one time. Steve-o is too authentic and too intellectual to “get it” about faith easily, or without perusing the evidence.  He’s going to have to be one of those seekers and knockers and askers (more like screamers at times…) like I was.  For him faith will be like it is for me- only by the hard way.  An unexamined faith, and a faith without doubts, is not faith at all.

atheism

Faith is vexing, but unbelief is illogical.

I don’t mean to bash Catholics, and frankly, I can go along with most of what the RCC (Roman Catholic Church) teaches.  I have the same problems with Catholicism that Martin Luther had- the primacy of the pope, the celibacy of priests,  the purchase of indulgences for the forgiveness of sins, and the whole concept of a brownie point system where forgiveness is earned in any way by what people do.  I’ve actually read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and according to their rules, if you don’t believe and go along with everything the Church teaches, then by definition, you can’t claim to be Catholic.   I have real intellectual problems with just accepting what some person (not God) or even some “esteemed group of people” says without being accorded any sort of space for analysis or debate.   That makes me Protestant by definition.  Just sayin’.

divine feminine

No, this is NOT me.

I’m still struggling with the concept of the feminine image of God and the importance of beauty in God’s view that we have been going over in our study.  Maybe that whole concept sort of pisses me off in a way, because I’ve never seen myself as beautiful, and I’ve never really been regarded as much more than a Fetcher of Beer, or someone to whine at about food, or someone to clean up when there’s dog shit on the floor.   From my earliest memory I’ve been defined by what I can or can’t do, (and by how epic my failures are) but I’ve never felt as if anyone saw me as having any sort of native, intrinsic value.

I know that I talk the talk and I get it, at least intellectually, that salvation is a gift of grace- nothing that I can earn or deserve- but deep in my heart of hearts I am still that pathetic, geeky little girl who the other kids threw mud and bugs at.  I’m still the awkward kid who doesn’t belong, still the girl the guys approached to get her phone number- so they could call her sisters.  I was never anyone’s first choice, and was doing good to be a consolation prize.

I’m still sticking with the study even though it’s tearing open some really old wounds.  Heart is a LOT harder to reach than Mind.

short attention span

That’s what continuous multitasking will do for you.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I really don’t enjoy multitasking.  I don’t like being interrupted at all.  When I’m doing what I want to be doing I don’t get distracted…until someone else bugs me and nags me about doing something else or doing something in addition to what I’m doing.

Sometimes I just need to tell the rest of the world to bite me sideways.

biteitsideways

 

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, and Life is a Limited Time Offer

dead kid on horse

I’m not sure which one(s) is (are) dead in the pic, but I’m pretty sure they all are by now.

It’s Ash Wednesday again- a day to reflect on personal mortality and the myriad imperfections of humanity, so here I am trotting out the postmortem pics collection.  As macabre as it is, I know I’m not the only one who is fascinated with Victorian era postmortem photography.  As for the kid in the above pic, he looks like he’s seen a ghost.  Mom and Dad look pretty much comatose, which is why I can’t tell for sure who’s dead and who’s not.  I’m pretty sure I would have the same expression on my face as the kid if I were required to sit that close to dead people, so that’s another reason why I wonder if the kid, the parents, just one or the other parent, or all three were dead when this pic was taken.   The reality is, now anyway, that they are all dead, unless the kid is 120 or something. Physical death is a 100% probability- it’s going to happen- and it’s just a question of when. 

I could even get into a little Southern Baptist soteriology (even though it’s a bit odd because SB’s don’t observe Ash Wednesday) right about now too.  Turn or burn, baby.  You are gonna be worm food, so now’s your time to Get Right with the Lawd-uh!

televangelist

Somehow seeking salvation from a dog and pony show like this seems about as effective as taking driving lessons from Ted Kennedy.

I do like her wig though.  If only it were black.

I have had a rather cynical relationship with organized religion through the years.  When I decided to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (which many self-proclaimed Catholics have not) I learned that if I am to be intellectually honest with myself and with God there is no way I can claim to be Roman Catholic.   There is some Weird Stuff in there.  I almost joined an SB church because their theology tends to be very black and white.  Saved/not saved, sin/not sin, and so on.  You can know if you’re IN or OUT.  I love the Baptist emphasis on Bible study too- but- for me the big problem with Baptists in general is that they tend to put too much on human free will- such as we “choose” to believe.  I’m here to say that I firmly believe it’s God doing the choosing, and I don’t claim to understand that.

I discovered confessional Lutheranism when I was in college, and of all the interpretations and expressions of Christianity, to me it makes the most sense.  Lutheranism- in its classic sense, is not perfect, but it allows for the grey areas, and allows for intellectual honesty and questions.  There is space for the mystery that is God.  There is understanding for my lack of ability to comprehend.

dead kid with angels

I have a hard time understanding why you would take pics of a dead kid surrounded by paper angels, but it was a different time.

I wish I could believe spiritual things as black and white (and there are some things that are) but I find myself asking way too many questions- questions where I simply have to accept the mystery and be okay that the answer is either something I don’t know or can’t understand.

I’m glad that I’m not the one who makes the vast decisions of the cosmos.  I’m doing good to decide what to wear or what to eat, and grateful to have both clothes and food.

Saints in stained-glass

I’m pretty sure no one is going to want to memorialize me in stained glass.

I have more questions than answers and more failures than successes, but I have to believe there is some reason why I am sucking up valuable oxygen for the time being, whether I get it or not.

(Jesus said:) “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal;  but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (NRSV)

Today’s questions would be, “Where is my treasure?  Where is my heart?”

I really have to think about both of those questions today.

Discipline Your Kids, A Fresh Outlook, and I Need a Road Trip- Bad

toddler-tantrum

Do your kids a favor- teach them to behave like civilized people- at least in public!

When I was growing up in the dark ages of the 1970s-early 1980s, acting out in public was a sure fire way to get yourself beaten into the next county by the next nearest adult.  If you were unfortunate enough to be beaten out in public by a non-parental adult, when one’s parents did find out, (and they always did)  you were beaten again- to make sure you were beaten good enough.  Now people are afraid to even say anything to someone else’s miscreant child, fearing the wrath and possible litigation by the parents.  That sucks.  There are a good number of kids I see out in public that could use a good old fashioned hiney-warming.  I’d do it… if I thought the parents would have the good sense to back me up.  I guess they would rather announce to the world that their children are being raised by wolves than to administer a bit of well placed correction.

There was no sparing the rod (or spoiling this child) in my family.  Believe that.

Mom (being the good Catholic mother she aspired to be) would beat the daylights out of you for messing up the Catholic Calisthenics during Mass.  Even if you were a toddler (sorry, NO nursery) you did not sit when the rest of the congregation kneeled, nor did you stand when the rest of the congregation sat.  You did not have a coloring book, crayons or Cheerios.  You sang every word to every hymn, and you did not fail to respond with the correct responses as printed in the Missal.

 

Missal

The word “Missal”- for those who were fortunate enough to have been raised in a Protestant tradition-isn’t a typo.  I am a bit of a spelling Nazi after all. “Missal” is sort of the Catholic how-to guide to Mass, and is never to be used as  a “missile,” as in a projectile to throw at an annoying sibling.  Even though my sisters did.

kid fight

Siblings fight.  So why do people have multiple children?  Especially if one of them just ends up being a punching bag?

As an adult I can appreciate liturgical worship- and I do- but it was baffling to me as a kid.

Sunday morning Mass sort of went like this:

Dad drops us off at church.  Dad did not do Mass.  Ever.  He would be back in about an hour or two.  Church wasn’t Dad’s cup of tea, especially in a church where, as he would say, “the preacher wears a dress.”

priest robes

Follow Mom up the steps and (unless you wanted dragged out by the hair and back handed within an inch of your life) don’t forget to bless yourself with holy water and genuflect (another foreign word for Protestants- kneel before you walk down the aisle to find a seat because you’re approaching the altar) before sitting in whatever seat she thinks you should sit in.  Mom liked to park us in the second or third pew from the very front- where the priest can be sure to give you the stink eye any time the word “hell” is mentioned.  Hope and pray that (as usual) I didn’t get sandwiched between both sisters and therefore was open to assault from both sides.

Find the Missal.  Follow the instructions to the letter even while being poked, prodded, pinched and wet willie’d from both sides.

Spend a few minutes wondering why Jesus chooses to live in the funky gold box where the communion wafers were stored-  when He’s not out and about looking for sins and finding reasons why you should go to hell, that is.

Sing the closing hymn and hope Mom didn’t decide to chit-chat with every single one of her old bitty friends on the way out, although it was inevitable that she would.

It’s a wonder – or should I say a gift of the Spirit- that I can set foot in church at all.  But that is a very long story.

cathedral-in-Milan-752811

I do appreciate the aesthetic of Gothic architecture, especially if we don’t try to jack it up by doing a “70s update” on a 19th century (or earlier) building.  The church I went to as a kid was one of those beautiful Gothic style churches- until someone decided the interior needed a cheesy 70s update that included green astroturf carpet, everything painted white and green (acck!) and just plain hokey furniture.  Either you want to go modern or have the Gothic aesthetic, but the two styles don’t mix.  It’s church, not steampunk (which is half ways tolerable, ’cause steampunk is cool) and definitely not the set of “The Price is Right,” which is what that hideous “renovation” reminded me of.

price is right

Just substitute green for red, and that was pretty much how tacky it looked.

Church would have been a bit more interesting with Bob Barker.  At least when I was a little kid.  Grandma loved “The Price is Right.” That was back when Bob Barker still dyed his hair.

I need a road trip but don’t really have anywhere I want to go or, should I say, can afford to go and have time to go.   I still want to go to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia and I’m going to have to figure out the logistics.  I have to go to my nephew’s graduation in NC next month, but that’s more of a “have to” than a recreational pursuit.  Not to mention Dad scares the living hell out of me with his need for speed while driving in the mountains.  I’ve never been comfortable with mountain driving- especially considering we will probably be in their Dodge minivan.   It will probably be my luck it will be rainy and windy too while he’s going 90MPH down a 6% grade.

The last time I let Dad drive on a road trip,  I closed my eyes and put the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” on repeat.  That helped.

I really, really need some quality ivory tower time, as in several days of being completely away from dealing with other humans.  The bad thing is that’s not going to happen.

No, I Don’t Have Any Green Clothes

 

wpid-20140317_152448_3.jpg

I don’t own any green clothes.  I don’t like the idea of weirdos trying to pinch me, either.

St. Patty’s Day isn’t really high on my radar of secular holidays.  I don’t drink beer, and even if I did, it wouldn’t be green.

It’s sort of depressing that someone took the guy who brought Christianity to the heathens in Ireland and turned his festival day into a drinking holiday.  I still think green beer and leprechauns would be more suitable if we were celebrating Benny Hill’s birthday, but maybe that’s just me.

I guess it’s a good thing leprechauns are white.  Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to make fun of them.  Or get creeped out by them.  I always looked at leprechauns as sort of creepy mini-trolls.

leprechaun

At least it’s not Hans Strudel.

hans strudel

When did German=Fruity?

The Irish have always been sort of “people who get picked on.”  Maybe it’s because a lot of them are Catholic.  Maybe it’s because they like to get drunk and fight.  But the same descriptives also apply to Italians, and nobody bothers them.

thrifty scotsman

Then there’s the Thrifty Scotsman, which is a stereotype I can understand.  My grandmother’s father immigrated (legally, may I add- Dad has his documentation) from Scotland.  My great grandfather died long before I was born, but my grandmother was one of the most thrifty people I ever knew- cutting coupons, hitting the sales, stocking up on dozens of three-pound cans of Folger’s when it was cheap,  and so forth.  That might have been because she was half Scots (her mother was German) but it might have been because she grew up in the Depression, too.

folgers-coffee-in-a-can

Grandma always had a few extra cans of Folger’s.

I don’t think I’ve had green clothes since I was old enough to buy my own clothes.  Almost everything I have is either pink, black or jeans.

Suicide: I Sort of Understand- But- The Dirt Nap Awaits Us All

burgess-meredith

“And I usually drink my dinner!”

I really enjoyed Burgess Meredith’s performances in the “Grumpy Old Men” movies.  I especially enjoyed the death reference from the movie “Grumpier Old Men”:

Grandpa:   What the… what the hell is this?
John:   That’s lite beer.
Grandpa:   Gee, I weigh ninety goddamn pounds, and you bring me this sloppin’ foam?
John:   Ariel’s got me on a diet because the doc said my cholesterol’s a little too high.
Grandpa:   Well let me tell you something now, Johnny. Last Thursday, I turned 95 years old. And I never exercised a day in my life. Every morning, I wake up, and I smoke a cigarette. And then I eat five strips of bacon. And for lunch, I eat a bacon sandwich. And for a midday snack?
John:   Bacon.
Grandpa:   Bacon! A whole damn plate! And I usually drink my dinner. Now according to all of them flat-belly experts, I should’ve took a dirt nap like thirty years ago. But each year comes and goes, and I’m still here. Ha! And they keep dyin’. You know? Sometimes I wonder if God forgot about me. Just goes to show you, huh?

Suicide isn’t a joke, even though I sort of understand the mentality behind wanting to just plain blot out.  There have been times in my life when I’ve thought about it, and then the old Catholic teaching that suicide is a mortal sin sticks in my head.  In old school Catholic thought, killing yourself is more or less similar to drawing the “go to jail” card in Monopoly, but with a twist:

monopoly-go-to-HELL2-card

I don’t know why, but this was always my visual for “Mortal Sin.”

The older I get, the more I realize that what seems like the end of the world really isn’t the end of the world.  It might hurt like hell.  It might be physical pain, or even chronic pain that never really goes away.  It might be that nameless void in which there are no words or even tears, but only a sharp and consuming bolt of terror and sadness and longing that knocks your breath away. Even that is not the end of the world.

The older I get, the more tenaciously I cling to life- if only because experience has taught me that there is life (and good life to be had) even beyond the unspeakable, nameless void of grief, beyond the burning pain of rejection, beyond the uncertainty of worldly trappings, and even in the endurance of chronic physical pain.

limbour-hell

Hell?  Or is it just Detroit?

I know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, especially when you’re a fifteen year old kid and all you’ve ever known is deprivation and loss and a sad sense of being unworthy of sucking up valuable oxygen.  I’ve been there.

I don’t know exactly what kind of despair was behind the recent teen suicides here in central Ohio.  I know I wouldn’t want to be a high school kid today, but things sucked back in my world too.  We faced an uncertain future.  There were people like me with thick glasses and bad clothes and geeky habits who were just about as popular as stepping in dog shit on a hot day, but we survived.  Some of us went on to thrive, although in my case I wouldn’t claim any kind of stellar, charmed life- but it’s life.  I’ll take what I can get and give what I can give and at the end of the day, that’s all.

control

I don’t have the answers.  I’m not God, which is a good thing, because if I controlled the world it would be pretty much unrecognizable.  There would be a lot of buff dudes in Spandex, and no such thing as rap music.  That much I could guarantee, but then again I am not the one in control.

There is a certain amount of peace in accepting that there are some questions that will never be answered and some concepts that I was never designed to understand.  I don’t have much comfort or solace for those who survive after a loved one commits suicide except to say that there is life beyond the breathless void, and that some day there will be good life beyond that void.  I will also say that God is big enough to take whatever anger and frustration and pain that you are willing to surrender to Him.

mortality-rates

Our time is short.  That doesn’t necessarily disturb me too much.  I’ve been close to death, and I’m not afraid to die.  I don’t like the prospect of suffering and pain and I understand that there are times when death would be a relief and a comfort.  As far as I can tell, as of right now, I’m not there yet.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls…