So my forty days without candy are almost up, and Jesus is really proud of me. I don’t know this for certain, since I’ve never actually spoken with the Messiah; he only speaks to televangelists. But I’ve no doubt Jesus is somewhere warm and sandy right now, checking up on all the many peeps under his roof. He’s probably in some remote locale that Trump has no idea even exists, sipping on a long tall glass of Sangria that was water before he held it in his mighty grip.
I think he probably marvels at the complications and wonders how we ignore the miracles on a daily basis. And I really do hope he has a great sense of humor, seeing as how I gave up candy inside this season of reflection. As if pushing away from the candy counter makes us square.
The ephemeral nature of my separation from a sugar rush is symbolic of something greater . . I get it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t find irony and humor in the exchange rate; seeing as how the exchange rate is in everything we do.
Think about the things to which we abide, and how we give them currency. We believe a diet makes us disciplined. That reading about the stoics makes us pure. That attending church every Sunday makes us ready. That praying has two ends of a line. We actually believe that holding on to liturgical observances is a testimonial to the sacrifice of someone to whom Stephen Hawking, the smartest man in the world, believed was a fairy tale.
This isn’t to damn any of it. To the contrary, this is to celebrate the idea that we even try. Because every time we step into an idea and make it ours, we’re not simply adopting these sacraments, we kinda become them in the trying. We win and we lose and it can be beautiful and ugly . . both. And there’s a magical fascination to that, I think.
Which is why it doesn’t turn me on to think we are simply the progeny of some totally spontaneous thrust in the belly of the universe. The idea that we’re nothing more than one big lab experiment may be the prevalent explanation, but the Shakespeare of it all really sucks.
Who’s to say the math is right? Who’s to say the universe isn’t some gigantic art museum that sprang a leak in the roof one day and let us in? After which the Boss fixed us up with a sweet crib, whose origins are thornier than a rose garden and whose stories are taller than Andre the Giant?
And we made it a home, somehow and some way. We, the highly combustible elements of an epic union, making our way through the great blue yonder in our search for clarity and meaning. We gain and we falter, magnificently. And so what of it? Are we handed a big fat meh of a pink slip when all is said and done? Is that the end of the story?
Or is there a maybe to all of this? The kind of maybe that stands a chance against all our technology and snark and smarts?
Like, maybe there is something else . . and maybe it’s been hiding in plain sight all along . . and maybe there is a star in the universe that belongs to every single one of us from the beginning of us. And when we leave this patch of grass, we get tucked into the sacred blanket, next to Prince and Carrie Fisher and Richard Wagner and Hawking and Bowie, and on and on.
Forty days is a grain of sand inside all the beaches on all the planets in all the universe. But . . it came to mean something to me, the way Pi Patel’s story of a Bengal tiger meant something to him. It’s a favorite book of mine, and I always get a lump in my throat when I get to the part where he asks the interviewer which story he preferred. Because I prefer that story too.
And so, if there is a God . . I like to think his son might actually appreciate the try. Personally, I like to think there is a Jesus. In spite of myself, and because of it. And if so, I like to think he wishes and he dreams, just like us. I like to think there is a day he looks forward to, a day separated by oceans and planets and the forever impossibilities of such a trespass. And I like to think it humbles even him. But still, he keeps walking and wishing and dreaming. And perhaps most of all right now?
I like to think he has a sweet tooth.