Tag Archives: love

Poor Ol’ Wooden Head

“Kaw-Liga”
KAW-LIGA, was a wooden Indian standing by the door
He fell in love with an Indian maid over in the antique store
KAW-LIGA – A, just stood there and never let it show
So she could never answer “YES” or “NO”.

He always wore his Sunday feathers and held a tomahawk
The maiden wore her beads and braids and hoped someday he’d talk
KAW-LIGA – A, too stubborn to ever show a sign
Because his heart was made of knotty pine.

[Chorus:]
Poor ol’ KAW-LIGA, he never got a kiss
Poor ol’ KAW-LIGA, he don’t know what he missed
Is it any wonder that his face is red
KAW-LIGA, that poor ol’ wooden head.

KAW-LIGA, was a lonely Indian never went nowhere
His heart was set on the Indian maiden with the coal black hair
KAW-LIGA – A, just stood there and never let it show
So she could never answer “YES” or “NO”.

Then one day a wealthy customer bought the Indian maid
And took her, oh, so far away, but ol’ KAW-LIGA stayed
KAW-LIGA – A, just stands there as lonely as can be
And wishes he was still an old pine tree.

“The Complete Hank Williams” (1998)

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The quirky movie I reviewed, Moonrise Kingdom, reconnected me with a song I loved as a child.  It was on an old 45 record that belonged to my mother’s best friend from high school.  When the Retleffs sold their farm and tore down their house and barn, they had a huge estate sale.  My mother bought the old record player and all the collected records that Aunt Jenny still had.  They were the same ones my mother and her friend Edna had listened to over and over.  There were two records of singles about Indian love.  Running Bear was about an Indian boy who fell in love with little White Dove.  They lived on opposite sides of a river.  Overcome with love, they both jump into the river, swim to the middle, lock lips, and both drown.  Together forever.  That song, it turns out, was written by the Big Bopper, and given to Johnny Preston to sing, and released the year after the Big Bopper died in a plane crash along with Buddy Holly and Richie Valens.

Kaw-liga, by Hank Williams, was a wooden Indian sitting in front of a cigar store.  His love story is even worse.  As you can see from the lyrics above, he never even gets the girl.  Dang, Indian love must be heck!

But I have come to realize that these aren’t merely racist songs from a bygone era.  They hold withing them a plea for something essential.  They are a reminder that we need love to be alive.

When I was young and deeply depressed… though also insufferably creative and unable to control the powers of my danged big brain, I knew that I wanted love.  There was one girl who went to school with me, lovely Alicia Stewart (I am not brave enough to use her real name), that filled my dreams.  We were classmates, and alphabetical seating charts routinely put us near each other.  She had a hypnotic sparkle in her eyes whenever she laughed at my jokes.  She was so sweet to me… sweet to everyone… that she probably caused my diabetes.  I longed to carry her books or hold her hand.  I cherished every time she spoke to me, and collected the memories like stamps in a stamp album.  But like the stupid cigar store Indian, I never spoke up for myself.  I never told her how I felt.  I was endlessly like Charlie Brown with the Little Red-Haired Girl.  Sometimes you have to screw up your courage and leap into the river, even if it means your undoing.  Because love is worth it.  Love is necessary.  And it comes to everybody in one way or another over time.  I look at pictures of her grandchildren posted on Facebook now, and wonder what might have been, if only… if only I had jumped in that stupid river.  I did find love.  And I probably would’ve drowned had I done it back then.  Life has a way of working things out eventually.  But there has to be some reason that in the 50’s, when I was born, they just kept singing about Indian love.

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Filed under autobiography, finding love, humor, Paffooney

Book Magic, the Empathy Spell

Fools

I have long known that reading good books is the primary path to being a wizard.  There are many, many things you can learn from the magic contained in fiction books, but now there is also research that proves books can improve your empathetic skills.  Here is the article I found to suggest it is so;

http://blog.theliteracysite.com/fiction-readers/?utm_source=lit-twcfan&utm_medium=social-fb&utm_term=20160108&utm_content=link&utm_campaign=fiction-readers&origin=lit_twcfan_social_fb_link_fiction-readers_20160108

If you don’t feel energetic enough to actually go there and read that, let me summarize a bit.  When you read a good fiction story, you get to live for a while in another person’s skin… see the world through someone else’s eyes… and if it is intelligent, realistic, and complex enough, it rewires a bit of the part of your brain that tries to understand and make sense of perspectives that are new to you, not merely habits that you follow down muddy, well-worn paths on auto-pilot.  You get to practice understanding other people.  And the more you practice this with well-written, insightful material, the more empathetic you will become.  The article notes significantly that children reading J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series develop skill at compassion.  I can personally testify that as a middle school teacher, I saw that very thing happening as students in my nerd classes not only became more sensitive towards the gifted weirdos in their class because of Harry, but also became more understanding of the special education students, and other often-bullied minorities.  Harry Potter books are literally magic books.

Here are some other notable books and their magical powers;

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is taught in numerous middle schools and high schools across the country because teachers have instinctively realized how much it does to solve problems of racial and cultural tension in the school environment.  It tackles the unfairness of racism, the effects of extreme poverty, the possible side effects of too much religion, and it illustrates everything through the voice of a very intelligent young girl.  Learning hard lessons becomes practically painless.

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is narrated by the angel of death.  It is set in Nazi Germany in the war years.  The central character is the daughter of a man arrested and executed as a communist.  She is forced to live with German foster parents who turn out to be very loving individuals, though they are enduring difficulties of their own.  They not only love and nurture her, they take in a young Jewish man who is fleeing the Gestapo and the work camps.  In the face of the constant threat of death, the main character learns to read both books and people, to care about others, and face the deaths of those she loves without fear.  This book makes beauty out of human ugliness and war, and love out of fear and death.  Very powerful magic, in my humble opinion.

So what am I saying in this Paffoonied post of books and magic?  Only this.  There is magic power to be gained from reading fiction books, especially well-written fiction books.  Try it for yourself.  You may accidentally turn yourself into a frog… or a little girl from Maycomb, Georgia in the 1930’s… but it will turn out to be very good magic.  Go ahead, try it.  I dare you.

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Monkey-Wild About “Peanuts”

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Yesterday the Peanuts Movie came to the dollar movie theater in Carrollton.  And my two kids at home and me went to it.  I invited my wife, but with the righteous indignation of a Jehovah’s Witness unshakable in her beliefs, she said, “Why would I want to go to a Christmas movie?”  She associated it not with the beloved comic strip in the newspapers, but with the old Christmas special.  And she would not be talked into it.  It is a matter of faith, after all.  Celebrating Christmas, naturally, loses you the chance to live happily ever after on a paradise Earth… after Jehovah God smites all the wicked people and all the deluded people who never worshiped him properly using his proper name, and also that rude postman my wife doesn’t particularly like.  Of course, it is not a Christmas movie.  The only Christmas part it has in it is a brief Christmas carol from the old TV special that Snoopy ruins.  So God didn’t punish us for enjoying this movie… at least, not yet.

We unrepentantly enjoyed the movie.  I enjoyed it as a culmination of more than 50 years of reading and laughing at Charles
Schulz’s satire of the uncertainties of childhood as they affect the whole of our adult lives.  My kids loved it because it is an excellent cartoon that is filled with hilarious moments that trace directly back to the comic strip.

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The central story is about Charlie Brown’s self doubts mixed with his never-ending crush on the little red-haired girl.  In his own hesitant, hide-behind-the-bushes style, Charlie pursues her and plans how he might win her heart.  In the comics, it never worked out.  He always failed.  He was always the lovable loser, and the red-haired girl never noticed.

I was inspired to write a poem about it because I could so deeply identify with his crisis of confidence.  Here is that sappy poem;

Little Red-Haired Girl

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

That little red-haired girl, so cute, so nice

You only looked and looked from afar

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

You could’ve held her hand

You could’ve walked her home from school

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

She never got your Valentine

At least, you forgot to sign your name

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

No hope of marriage now, nor children

Happily ever after has now long gone

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

Now every love poem is a sad poem

And the world is blue and down

You never told her that you loved her…

You never told her that you loved her…

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

 

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The main story is paralleled in Snoopy’s Red Baron fantasies as the movie goes along.  The lady-dog-pilot, Fifi, is kidnapped by the Red Baron.  Snoopy, the dashing, daring WWI pilot sets out in his Sopwith Camel dog house to rescue her.  And after being foiled several times… he succeeds!  And not long after, Charlie Brown himself succeeds.  The little red-haired girl actually chooses Charlie Brown to be her summer pen pal project buddy.  I should probably be outraged because in the comic strip she never knew he was even alive… But I loved the happy ending.  Charlie Brown deserves it.  I deserve it.  I believe even Charles Shulz would be charmed by it if he were still alive to see it.

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I apologize if I spoiled the movie for you, but it is something you should already know anyway if you ever read and loved the comic strip.  It is not the surprises that make this movie work.  It is the being true to a time-honored comic-strip and the bringing of it so completely and so beautifully to life.  And my wife looked again at the movie trailers and decided she had been wrong about it being a Christmas movie.  Maybe we are not doomed after all.

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Snow

Denny&Tommy1

My life always seems to come down to snow.  It is a theme that runs through my little teacher-life, my little story-teller-life.  Did you know that I was born during a blizzard?  Mason City, Iowa was snowed in during the November blizzard of 1956 when I was born, on this date in the wee hours of the early morning.  Some of my most vivid memories happened in the snow. Val in snow

There was that night when I was eleven and snow was falling heavily as choir practice at the Methodist Church came to an end.  The walk home was more difficult than I had anticipated when I started out.  The entire front of me was plastered with snow as I leaned into the wind and trudged like some kind of plodding living snowman.  I got as far as the Library on Main Street when Mrs. Stewart and Mrs. Kellogg called me into the library to thaw out.  They called Mom and Dad to come the three blocks from home and pick me up.  But Alicia Stewart was there.  The most beautiful girl in all of Rowan, as far as my young heart was concerned.  She sat in the row across from me at school.  I am fairly certain that my Math grades were so poor mainly from the time I wasted watching her sharpen her pencils and turning the pages in her textbook.  I had my Russian snow hat on that night and the ear flaps were pulled down.  I had the little bill on the front of the cap pulled down to shield my eyes, and it was caked and dripping with snow as I entered the library.

I pounded off some of the caked snow and said, “Gee, I think it might be snowing outside.”

Everyone laughed.

Alicia pulled up the bill of my cap and looked me right in the eye.  “Michael, you are so funny,” she said.  That smile she gave me that snowy night warmed my heart, and drove the cold out of even my frozen toes.  I still keep the memory of that smile in my heart to this very day, in a drawer where nobody can find it, and I haven’t really ever told anybody about it until here and now.

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And snow keeps coming back to find me, even now that I live in Texas where snow is much more of a rare thing.  On February 14th, 2003 in Dallas we woke up to another heavy snow flurry.

The people I love most in the world were enthralled.  My wife squealed like a little girl.  She is from the Philippines and she told me she had never really seen the snow falling before that day.  My three kids were awake and romping in the snow almost from first light.  The gently falling snow was beautiful, though it was a bit damp and clumpy, falling like goose feathers from a pillow fight, and easily forming into snowballs.  We built snow men in front of Tatang and Inang’s house (Filipino for grandpa and grandma).  Dorin, Henry, and Cousin Sally were throwing snowballs and random handfuls of snow at me and each other for most of the morning.  The Princess, barely walking and talking at that stage of her young life, ate snow and played in it until her bare hands were red and hurting.  She threw a crying fit when we had to force her into the house to warm up her hands.  Even pain couldn’t make her want to leave the snow behind.  I never loved snow that much until I got to see it through their eyes.

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I truly believe that one day in the near future the snow will come for me again.  I will probably not be living in a place where snow is frequent, so it may not even be real snow.  But it will come for me to take me away the same as it brought me to this life.  Not real snow, but that obscuring snow that falls as your field of vision fills up with whiteness and purity and fades away.  Being in poor health for several years now, I know that sort of snow all too well.  I know it will be coming again.  The magic of life comes and goes in the clear, cold beauty of snow.  And all the warm tangles and troubles of life will be smoothed out under a blanket of pure, white, and cleansing snow.

 

Write me an epitaph that includes the snow;

He was born in a blizzard,

And he knew the secret of snow.

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Red State Hate

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It has taken me some time to put ideas together to tackle this terrible thing.  Jon Stewart did a segment at the beginning of his show that was not funny.  It was somber, thoughtful, and full of real outrage that cast lightning bolts at the heart of the dragon.  And I admire Stewart for what he is… someone who truly cares about things, and fights the good fight using the best weapon he has.  Humor.  Mark Twain said that against it, nothing could stand.  But some things are so terrible that not even a joke can put it right.  Why?  Because there are places in this human world where ideas are like a festering sore, spreading at an alarming rate, and daily becoming more and more poisonous.  Texas is like that.  It is a Red State.  That means it is a hotbed of conservative ideas and nurtures Republican values… like being distrustful and fearful of them…  And who are they?  They are not us.  They have a different religion.  They have a different skin color.  They are not opposed to raising taxes on the rich, even if they are rich themselves.  They are not capitalists… Or not freedom-loving…  They think it can be left up to women to decide what to do with their own bodies.  They don’t see abortion as murder.  They don’t think teaching evolution in schools is evil.  We must fear them… and, yes, even hate them.

kids

As a school teacher, I learned early on that if you only look for the bad in other people, then that is what you will be left with, a world in which there are only bad people.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t live in a world like that.  I learned to look at the world as being full of imperfect people who all have good in them, lots of good.  I grew up in Iowa where the people were so white in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s that when the winter snow fell heavy enough, we all had the super power of invisibility.   I remember only one black face from my childhood that wasn’t on television.  There was a little girl from Chicago who came to stay with a volunteer family so she could get out of the inner city for a while.  The adults warned us that she might be prone to stealing things, so don’t do anything to tempt her.  And we didn’t.  And she didn’t.  And damn it, I don’t know whether we did a good job of not tempting her, or that warning was just an empty prejudice.  She was just like us.  She laughed at things.  She loved kittens.  She played our games.  She was just like us… but she had a better tan.

I started teaching in South Texas.  I quickly learned how to deal with Hispanic kids who were mostly poor and mostly Spanish-speaking.  I learned that they didn’t laugh at the same things as I did.  When they called me Batman for a while, it wasn’t a compliment.  I learned to laugh at the things they found funny and learned to joke the way they joked.  I played their games.  I learned to love pit-bulls and other dogs the way they loved dogs.  I was just like them… but they couldn’t hide in the snow as easily as me.

I learned to teach black kids like they complain about on Fox News, the ones they throw to the ground and sit on at pool parties in McKinney, Texas, when I moved to the Dallas area and the town of Carrollton.  I quickly learned why some teachers are so stressed out by them.  They are louder than the white kids.  Their nerves can be more raw and their tempers hotter than the other kids.  Not all of them… just about 51 %.   But you have to look close enough to see that… they laugh at most of the same things as us.  Some of the brightest, widest smiles I have ever seen are on the faces of black kids when you laugh at their jokes.  They play the same games as I do.  They love puppies just like I do.  They sometimes even have more faith in God than I do.  Some of my favorite students of all time had very dark faces.  I still think of them often… and i will never stop loving them… all of them.  And when something happens like it happened in South Carolina…  Forgive me, I have to cry again for a bit.

And how do we solve the problem of places where love is so badly needed, but is not present in large doses?  How do we overcome this passion some people have to exclude illegal immigrants, and the need some people feel to move their children out of schools where there are too many of the wrong colored faces?  I do not know the answer.
But you do not create love by passing laws and building walls.  You have to spend time with them.  You have to laugh at the same jokes.  You have to play the same games.  You have to love puppies and kittens.  Don’t you?

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“Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune”

Ra When I was a teenager and suffering from a terrible secret, I first began to see and hear invisible people.  I know this is not normal.  In fact, it comes under the heading of “wacko-stupid-maniac-loony”.   The first one was my friend the faun.  Now, for those of you who do not know, a faun is a mythological creature in the shape of a man (or possibly boy, or even little girl) with the legs and tail and horns of a goat (or possibly kid).  This creature is a sensual being in the Dionysian tradition.  Wine, women, and song so to speak.

When he first came to me it was a snowy winter’s night, long about December of my 17th year.  At that time I was still repressing the memory of what happened to me out behind the neighbor’s house when I was ten.  But I guess I knew I needed help in reaching out to others.  I was lonely and convinced that for some terrible unknown reason I was a horrible creature not worthy of love.  Then he came rapping at my window.  He was kneeling there in the snow, outside my upstairs bedroom window, on the roof of the front porch of the house, naked except for the goat fur on his legs.  But he wasn’t shivering.  After all, he wasn’t real.  No one but me would ever see him.  He was grinning at me.

“You aren’t going to leave me out here in the snow, are you, stupid?” he said.

“Who and what are you?” I asked, as I opened the window.  The snow was shining with a silvery, blue-white light that originated with the street light out in front of the house.

“I am Radasha,” he said.  “I am your faun… the part of you that feels things and needs things… the part of you you have stupidly been pretending doesn’t exist.”

All right, I know it sounds crazy.  But I needed him in my life.  Elwood P. Dowd had an invisible white rabbit.  Why couldn’t I have a faun?  And it was a very, very good thing.  He taught me how to laugh, and how to love… how to actually live.  And I know he has always been inside me, not really separate from me.  In many ways he is the real me.  But crazy people have their own set of priorities.  And when I was a confused teenager whose personal self-concept had been sexually violated by another, older boy… Radasha was mine.  An invisible friend to talk to.  One who could explain everything… make me laugh and make me happy.  And there is a sound to that.  Do you know the piece by Debussy that this post is titled after?  It is my favorite piece of music in all the world.  And it tells the sweet-sad story of Radasha and me.

Island Girl2z

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People All Have Worth

2nd Doctor  I know that you are probably immediately listing all the reasons that my title is totally wacky monkey-thinking in your head.  And if you want to lay into me in the comments, you are more than welcome.  But the reality is that teachers have to develop the mindset that all kids can learn and all people have value… no matter what.  That can be hard to accept when you factor in how corrupted, warped, and badly-taught so many people have turned out to be.  It honestly seems, sometimes, that when faced with the facts of how people act… being violent, or greedy, self-centered, thoughtless, un-caring, and willfully stupid… that they really don’t even have value to others if you kill them, let them rot, and try to use them as fertilizer.  The plants you fertilize with that stuff will come up deformed.

But the Doctor I have pictured here, the Second Doctor played by Patrick Troughton always seemed to find Earth people delightful.  Alien people too, for that matter, unless they were soulless mobile hate receptacles in robotic trash cans like the Daleks, or mindless machines powered by stolen human brains like the Cybermen.  There is, indeed, music in every soul, even if some of it is a little bit discordant and awkward.  And people are not born evil.  The classic study done on Brazilian street kids showed that even with no resources to share and living empty, hopeless lives, the children helped one another, comforted one another, and refused to exploit one another.  As a teacher you get to know every type that there is.  And there are stupid kids (deprived of essential resources necessary to learning), and evil kids (lashing out at others for the pain inflicted upon them), and needy kids (who can never get enough of anything you might offer and always demand more, MORE, MORE!)  Sometimes they drive you insane and make you want to resign and leave the country to go count penguins in Antarctica.  But the Doctor is right.  No matter what has been done to them, if you get to know them, and treat them as individual people rather than as problems… they are delightful!  Andrew

So let me show you a few old drawings of people.

Cute people like Andrew here.

Or possibly stupid and goofy people who never get things right.

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Or long-dead people who made their contributions long ago, and sacrificed everything to make our lives different… if not better.DSCN4448

Supe n Sherry_nOr young people who live and learn and hopefully love…

And try really hard at whatever they do… whether they have talent or not.

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And hope and dream and play and laugh…

And sometimes hate… (but hopefully not too much)…

And can probably tell that I really like to draw people…

Because God made them all for a reason…

even if we will never find out what that reason is.

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Dickens of a Season!

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I shared this Paffooney last year too.  I don’t really celebrate Christmas any more, but I do believe in the self-sacrificing love that informs Bob Cratchit, and is so obvious that it converts Ebeneezer Scrooge.  There in lies the “reason for the season”.

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Little Mermaids

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Why do I post a Paffooney about a mermaid?  Especially the horrific tale of the Little Mermaid written by Hans Christian Andersen?  I cannot really say… unless it is about self-sacrificing love… and its redeeming value.

In the original story, the 15-year-old mermaid discovers that mermaids, though they live for 300 years, do not have a soul.  She also manages to save a handsome prince from drowning, and then falls in love with him.  She goes to the sea witch to become human and have legs.  For the switch from fins to feet, the little mermaid pays a terrible price.  The sea witch cuts out her tongue.  When she drinks the feet-making potion, it hurts as if she were being split by a knife.  And, though, she can’t talk to win the prince, she can dance.  Dancing, however, feels like walking on broken glass, constantly bleeding and hurting.  So she goes to win true love’s kiss from the prince, the only thing that can give her a human soul.  But the prince is a total jerk, refusing to believe that the mermaid is the one who saved him and marrying the princess next door instead.  The sea witch gives the mermaid one final hope.  She can kill the prince, and bathing her legs in his blood, become a mermaid again.  Though he probably deserves to die, she decides she cannot kill him, and so she dies, becoming sea foam.  Yep, a horrible story in which the heroine sacrifices herself for a love that exists only in her own heart.

And the story doesn’t end there.  In the 1952 Danny Kaye movie Hans Christian Andersen, it is suggested that he wrote the story of the Little Mermaid as a ballet to send a message of his self-sacrificing love to the ballerina he loved but had no idea of his love.  Now, we know the movie doesn’t even try to be biographically accurate, but the real Andersen, a self-proclaimed asexual being, had many deep affairs of the heart that were not only non-sexual, but decidedly unrequited.  He had loves both female and male who could not love him in return.  No one ever gave the old bachelor the kind of love he desired, and yet, in his self-sacrificing way he poured his love into some of the most lovely fairytales ever written.

Disney had the audacity to change the little mermaid into a story with a happy ending.  This, of course, was the Disney way.  Although Walt Disney was dead and had no knowledge of the animated film, he would’ve approved.  Wish-upon-a-star magic of happy-ever-aftering is pretty important to the Disney legacy as a whole.  The lovely cartoon musical saved the Disney empire from decline and dissolution.  I am aware that the business plan of evil corporate manipulator Michael Eisner also has to be given credit, but I prefer to believe that everything can only come to a happy ending by mixing in the essential ingredient of unconditional love.

Why, then, did I do a Little Mermaid Paffooney?  Was it so I could draw a naked young girl?  I hope not.  I hope it is because I believe that the only purpose of art is to portray the uncloaked love that exists at the center of all experience.

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The Little Mermaid by Edmund DuLac

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The Gawd Problem

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In my little town in Iowa there were only two Midwestern churches, a brown brick Methodist church and a beige-brick Congregational church.  Midwestern Christianity tends to be very brown or beige.  So I was raised believing in God.  I was taught that there was God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  Three people in one.  And, since Methodists, the religion of my parents and grandparents, were basically puritans, we were raised believing sex was dirty and shameful, possibly evil, and we should save up all our sexual energy for the one person in life that we would most love, as long as that person was the opposite sex and also pre-conditioned to believe that sex was evil and we should not enjoy it.

The thing is, deeply ingrained religious beliefs like that, based on faith and the words in the Bible, is almost the exact opposite that highly intelligent people who get turned on to science tend to believe.  I had the misfortune to locate myself directly in the middle between these two high-powered magnets that were destined to pull me in two opposite directions at the same time.  Why are such things always based on contradictions?  Religion depends on faith, which Mark Twain suggests means devoutly believing what you know ain’t so.   Science depends on evidence and experience, and rejects anything your heart tells you is true that conflicts with the evidence.  Is there no middle ground?  Of course there isn’t.

So what do I actually believe?    I am a Midwesterner to my very marrow.  I believe there is a God.  The universe has an intelligence, a spiritual element, and is deeper and wider than my mere five senses can verify.  In fact, Carl Sagan said in Cosmos that because we have intelligence and discernment, we ourselves make the universe conscious of itself.  This is a profound point.  The universe is alive and aware because our existence gives it those qualities.  That’s the basic truth at the center of Existentialism.  Existence precedes essence.  A rock has to exist before its “rock-ness” becomes real.  So I am an Existentialist who believes in God.

At this point many of the Christian people I know begin yelling at me.  “You can’t be both a Christian and an atheist!”  But I am not an atheist.  I believe in God.  Further, because I believe that love is the most necessary quality in the universe, I choose to be called a Christian because Jesus Christ preached forgiveness, helping the less fortunate, and everything else based on love.  I also understand that the other major religions of this world are, at their core, based on love.   So I call myself a Christian Existentialist (though I realize I could just as easily be a Buddhist Existentialist, or some other kind of Existentialist).    I love people, even the bad ones, the ugly ones, and the ones who disagree with me (meaning practically everyone).    I don’t wish to be stupid or blind.  I don’t wish to be unfeeling.  I think the Truth (with a capital “T”) lies between the poles.

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