This is me on the right sitting at the left hand of my sister!
I know some of my readers faces, and so I thought it might be good for you to finally put a face to my words. This is not my sister by blood, but a good friend that I haven’t seen in 15 years (and before that in 7 years). So now in 22 years we have seen each other just twice. She is a long way away. She lives another life in Bondi Beach Australia, and yet last week as we enjoyed each others company, it was as if all the miles and all the hours apart had traveled with us together, and grown us not distant but closer still. The moment we first met held every eternal joy in the imminent seconds of embrace ~ as if in all the parting was a whole life beyond life ~ in the seconds shared. Quite mystifying. We only reconnected last year thanks to Facebook and so the modern technology of the world for me is a blessing as well a constant frustration. We were only ever social friends and so how apt that we should go forth and socialise.
Later on into our evening my long-time-no-see friend tackled me ~ ‘Whats all this religion then, where has all that come from?’ She made it most clear that she disapproved and doesn’t agree with any of it. She is an approaching 40-year-old woman of 2013 secular society, just as I was. And so my apologetics were tested which is no test at all, because I score very low on all tests. So I am afraid I rather flung the baby out with the bath water, and all I could talk about was my own experience of coming to faith in such an absolute way ~ not to convince anyone else or sway anyone else ~ but because I knew it to be absolutely infallibly True and so indisputable.
I can not live by untruths.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t ever get things wrong, of course I do, I am a flawed being. Flawed with a capital F. But I live each day without being able to live a lie, and although this has caused me all kinds of problems ~ which you just couldn’t even begin to understand ~ it means that I live in absolute truth from the point of perception of me ~ Me called by Him to be true. It means that I am constantly growing toward the absolute point of perfect Truth in Him. One day when I pop my clogs I might even get there.
I took my friend to a La la evening ~ an intimate family atmosphere party night, where I connect with dear old theatrical friends. The ‘La la society’ is made up of old-time friends (and their dear friends and acquaintances) from my theatre roots back from when I was eighteen +. And whilst once (many moons ago) we shared intimate details of each others lives in fraternal closeness, now we just socialise in casual comfortable easy proximity. They have about 6 special evenings a year, and I go there (usually on my own) to socialise, to celebrate, to have fun, and to let my hair down safely without being accosted or hassled, but mostly I go there to dance :O) Just for a few songs, mostly at the end of the evening. I usually have but two drinks, as I have to drive back home from the station, so it is in many ways a very sober night, and rather benign, but the fun, the joy and the mutual warmth shared is precious.
Many of my friends are gay, most are in long-term committed relationships and have interesting and surprising careers, and for the La la night alone, some have a wild sense of dress. They take incredible care of themselves, live a healthy lifestyle, and are warmly inclusive to everybody that is a guest. This week a polish immigrant named Pawel (pronounced Paulo) came for the first ever time. He was warmly welcomed as if he were a long time friend, encouraged to get up and play the keyboard and to join in with our singing antics and joy inherent in the La la gatherings. He came alone to a venue where it feels comfortable to do so, and in conversation shared some of his life. It really is like a warm joyous family. And that brings me on to my next paragraph – you see all this is held in the same cupped hands as my Catholic faith. A faith often questioned, challenged, sometimes delighted in, and on rare occasions rejected out of hand, by others whose insights, prejudice, and beliefs have been formed by their own experiences, relationships and lives.
It is an interesting dynamic where my church and social community reflect many qualities shared ~ each in the other ~ and yet where at La la a deeper liminal warmth permeates any stance taken. Because at the end of the day despite our differences, all any of us have to offer first, is ourselves. And it is that very Love, and nothing more, that leaves the deepest impression, that might one day (without even realising) point someone beyond self towards something other, which is far greater. Thats why even though completely out of my comfort zone and depth, I went ahead and applied for the rather grown-up sensible job of Lay Chaplain. GASP. I am not expecting to get it ~ but in applying I came to realise that although I am never going to ever feel quite so grown-up in the face of all the other very serious grown ups around ~ that all I could ever offer anyone is myself and all the things that stir and inspire me, and nothing more besides. GASP. Thats both a whole lot, and nothing very much at all. But its True.
I have been re-reading The Gospel According to John. I Love it ~ it is my favourite of all the Gospels and the one with which I most identify. I Love the fact that it addresses the bipolarity of life, which so often can be seen to undermine any ‘surefootedness’ in life. And yet in this Gospel it surefoots life and affirms it in every example, holding in strength the Truth. It reminds me of my first personal ‘conscious awareness’ of opposites held in contention when watching the Strindberg play Miss Julie ~ only here it was oppressive and a frustration, where the two ends stood in strong opposition to one another, without solution maybe, and reflected only weakness from either standpoint. It was a long time ago, so maybe it is time that I need to go back and re-observe Strindberg and see if I receive it other.
I was the reader today in our holy little church ~ I read from the book of wisdom. It seems to be the book at present that fills me with most feminine comfort, fulfilment and learning ~ I Love it. And so too, do I Love Johns Gospel where it inspires me by using opposite poles to illuminate the light.
This week after a week of opposing poles and bipolarities I realise something quite beautiful ~ and I put it to you all for your contemplation ~
That the scriptures read us . . . . we do not read the scriptures.