I reluctantly joined a ten week bible study last March. I did it for social reasons, which are as good as any. I do carry with me a certain level of cynicism, earned after decades of being churched and doing these sorts of things with mixed results.
This turned out to be a particularly good set of women and a particularly good study.
Things were going comfortably and smoothly for quite a while. I was sometimes doing my homework (and it is copious), sometimes showing up and mostly trying to listen and engage with my group.
My AA Moment
Last night we had to list all of our needs in our journals (among a bunch of other things that weren't meaningful to me). Since I am having a rough time adjusting to singlehood (again!) I went ahead and listed them all.
The list mushroomed, tiny bullets covered page after page of things I was missing. I'd write down a general need, and then a dozen particular needs would immediately follow. Some of them were big, but most were minutiae.
Like Christian in John Bunyan's fable, I had to let go of them.
The writer warned us they'd be back tomorrow, so this would have to be a daily routine.
Jesus came. I'd love to elaborate on that, but I can't. The Middle English word is just going to have to suffice. I do recommend the experience.
I woke up this morning strangely content. So content, in fact, that I was a little concerned. I could have lain in bed all day in a strange happy haze. Half of my bullets yesterday had something to do with artmaking. Things like "being recognized," "having an audience," "relating to another," and "creative and intellectual stimulation." I hadn't realized how closely my creative work was bound up with my needs. The list went on; "adulation," "being honest," and "connecting to another."
I almost titled this post "Jesus is my marijuana"
The thought came to me while in bed and it made me laugh, but it was profoundly inadequate in a way that I couldn't put a name to. I knew it was misleading, but I didn't know why.
I had to find another philosophical reason to get out of bed, besides the purely physical ones. The questions nagged me; Why is Jesus more than a happy pill? Why was this strange, weightless contentment not the whole answer? An idea was chewing at the corner of my sleep-besotted brain. I got up, put on the buffalo robe (because there was no time to dress) and woke up the computer.
He wore a red hat and bells
Christmas is the answer! St Nick can replace that lame little smiley. I want to be St Nick and give gifts, with pure motives and no strings (except for the wrapping). I don't have to wait for proper reciprocation, or gratitude. If my needs are already acknowledged and filled by Christ, I am absolutely free to celebrate Christmas every day.
Because there is a difference between "kind" and "happy." Happiness is simply a state, it contains itself. The circle around the smiley is infinite while kindness implies a certain sort of action and knowing. Kindness is a place where, theoretically, one can give, without needing anything in return. St Nick, as a symbol, is bulging with good things, he might be round, but his eyes are looking at you, and he is smiling, connecting, acknowledging and giving. At this point, what is in his pipe is utterly immaterial.
Fat Camille is Redeemed!
So now the drawing board is not merely my therapist, it is simply my board. It is the place where I spread my good things; my honesty, my gifts, my love, my heart.