The Story I Prefer

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.

65 thoughts on “The Story I Prefer

  1. So many favorite parts here, but I’ll go with this one. “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.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yesterday, I had this conversation. Are we here through evolution or are we here because of some higher power. And I choose and I have to believe it’s both. I think God continues to iterate human beings, and every day is a chance to improve his creation. Really loved this. You must have been a fly on the wall in Panera yesterday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha!
      I think sometimes people just have a certain wave length they all communicate on, unwittingly at times.
      Like . . I was humming a song the other day, John Denver song, the one I attached. And so I’m at work and I run into a woman who is singing it! And I was like, how in the hell are you singing that song like, right now? Neither of us had heard it on the radio, it just came into our heads. Strange, but wonderful.
      Maybe symbolic of some greater power, I don’t know. But I like to believe so as well.
      Thank you again!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As a life long (but ‘fallen’) Catholic, I too engage every Lent in some sort of ‘sacrifice.’ My only regret is the church didn’t explain this better so that we might become better all the time. That probably resides somewhere in the same category as he church’s failure to actually study the bible but that’s a different issue. I find that when I give up something I truly enjoy (i.e. chocolate, wine), it does tend to stay with me for a while until I backslide, being the imperfect human that I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brilliantly timed for THE holiday of the Christian – well not necessarily the Orthodox Christian… and why is that, anyway? Why the hell is the Orthodox Easter not always at the same time as the regular Easter? Why would Jesus’ rebirth happen at two different times? Sorry, I got lost there…
    I like to think your 40 grains of sand are worthwhile if they mean something to you. Because isn’t this particular journey a very personal one?
    I was about to comment on the same paragraph Karen did – it was also a favourite part of mine! I particularly liked this one as well: “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?”
    So good. So damn good.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If there is a Jesus, and I’m sure he has a sense of humor because … well, so many examples to choose from, but I’ll just go with LOOK WHO’S PRESIDENT NOW… I think he would scoff at the religious elite creating things like sacrifice for the rest of us while they don’t ‘suffer’. Eat meat on Fridays, don’t eat meat — STOP CHANGING THE RULES, Catholics! Sheesh.

    Jesus would be cool, and have just the one rule… well, two. In addition to the Golden one, of course, he’d just be all, “Don’t be a d*ck.” Simple.

    May the god of your choice bless you today, and every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d like to think Jesus has a sweet tooth and will no doubt marvel at your sacrifice. I also would like to think all the great minds of our planet can be recycled somehow. Seems like a waste to let Hawking go into a darkness without redeeming the deposit. So well done, Marc. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really dig that sentiment John, and yes, double yes and triple yes to it. How can the minds and the talents that we’ve lost NOT be here, somewhere? And not just in the derivative sense? But really still here.
      Thank you John!


  7. This was great. I didn’t grow up with all of the “rules and regulations” that are in many church religions so the 40 day thing has always been one of those “maybe I’ll try it someday” as I love the reason behind the tradition. I should say I am a believer and my faith is simply something that is a part of who I am. I can’t explain it all, the vastness of what we live in, or the complexities of why we’re here, or what really happened to those dinosaurs, faith is something that can’t be explained, it just rests deep in your soul. I believe, I trust, and know that someone bigger, smarter and far more wise is in control of all we see ( and don’t see!) and I’m ok with that. I do however, admire your great abilities to strong arm sugar for that length of time. Now that I’ve written a novel, I will remind myself this isn’t my blog, and exit stage left 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your ‘novel’, really I do. It heartens me to know that my words struck a chord with you, I dig that.
      I’m with you as far as my beliefs. I do not go to church. I went for a while when I was married, but even after I stopped going, I never stopped praying and I never stopped believing. My faith is strong.
      I did have some candy yesterday, but my goal is to maintain a more reasonable relationship with the stuff through the rest of the year. Moderation, indeed.
      Thank you for the comment, it is truly appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes, great post, even as I just finished one using the words Zombie Jesus Day. I want to win the lottery and read blogs all day. My tickets keep telling me “Not a Winner.” Maybe if there is a Jesus, we’re all winners at the end. Some are scared into believing that. I’m not, I just want to religious people of all stripes to start following the teachings they claim to believe in and stop judging others of different religions to the point of warring and killing them. Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

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