It was thirty-three degrees today, I have a sinus cold, and it’s Sunday. That means I’ve officially been more religious today than I have in years, due to the amount of “Jesus Christ’s” coming out of my mouth. My day off this week has been supremely tough on me, and all I want to do is go sweat horizontally, not in this hobbled upright position that I’m in now. But, the words must be typed, so here is a whole bunch of religious rambling.
Listen, I’ve never been a real religious person. As a kid I had my moments when before bed each night, I would “talk to god” about things that worried me and ask… uh, it, for forgiveness. But, it was always a paranoia thing—gotta start doing this if I wanna get into heaven. It never actually meant anything to me so, eventually I stopped doing it.
I was in the fifth or sixth grade, still in my elementary school, St. Pat’s—the one that sits dormant on Patterson Drive, waiting for the mold to take care of itself. My mother enrolled me in a Catholic school, because she went to a Catholic school. It also happened to be within her sight line when she looked out the kitchen window. We’d walk across a field with our back packs in tow and get taught all about the ultimate sacrifice of our Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ.
Every Easter, we’d gather around on the hog-hair carpet and watch our first examples of hyperviolence in the murdering of our Lord. Why they use death to teach us about love is a question I’ll ponder for the rest of my life, but there we were, glued to the punishment of our boi, JC. We’d go on spring break, set free from the torture couch and the memories of Jesus would fade into images of egg-laying rabbits and the supreme logic questions of the Easter bunny himself.
When school would come back in session, we’d all talk about what the Easter bunny did for us, each story different from the last. The Easter Bunny had no M.O. She was a free agent—a demi-god of chocolate, spreading joy with anarchic flair. She wasn’t as organized or precise as Santa Claus, but she came with volume, bruh. Solid, 2lb choco-bunnies. Giant Kinder-Eggs. Handfuls of Peeps, platefuls of jelly beans and marshmallow boats. Sometime there’d be a trail of jelly beans leading you from your room to a bounty in the kitchen. Sometimes your shit’d be flung through the yard and it’d take an hour to find all of it, and that’s only if you managed to beat the ants—or event worse: the aunts.
Two things didn’t sit right with me about Easter—like, how the fuck did we get from Jesus Christ dying a merciless death and being reborn like the messiah he was, to an egg-laying rabbit? Furthermore; who decided that this rabbit should lay eggs? Who decided that we’re going to hunt for these eggs like a junkie looks for a forgotten stash? I had the same problem with Christmas.
School taught me the players: Joseph, a cucked-by-the-almighty Carpenter, Mary the “Virgin,” three random-ass “wise” men, a star and the regular cast of barnyard animals. How do we get from that, to a guy named St. Nicholas hauling off in a sled, drawn by magic Reindeer (which just looked like Caribou to me) and rockets around the earth in a single evening? I grasped the concept of time zones back then, and even with that, shit didn’t compute.
My mother tells a story of me coming to her and confessing that I didn’t think that things added up with Mr. Claus. I was concerned that there was trickery at play, and that’s when, wanting to preserve my childhood, she tried to push the notion away—and it worked, for a bit. Eventually, I realized what she was doing, both my younger and older sisters still believed, and doing this was easier than leveling with a kid and asking him not to ruin the joy for anyone else.
It’s weird though, as I meander through this life I’ve been given, I’m realizing that Jesus was a part of the life toolkit that I was given to fill as a child. I spent twelve years in the catholic school system, not realizing how specific it actually was until meeting people out in the world who had different experiences. In several moments in my life, regardless of where I’m really at, I have these odd moments of prayer—as if I don’t know what to do anymore, so I’ll just do what I did as a kid. I’ve never gotten the relief that I’ve been told that prayer should provide, I always just ended up a little more panicked than before. But I do understand where the solace comes from, I imagine that the relief I feel after talking something out with a friend is akin to that religious relief. Maybe that’s where God is for me, in the nurturing belly of a friendship.
See you tomorrow.