Last weekend my grandfather was in town. He came unannounced , baring
wonderful news for us all. My grandmother had given being a Catholic. She was now, like him, a Jehovah’s Witness. She had given up her Christian-Pagan roots and found faith love, and acceptance in the right religion.
I had no idea my grandfather had become a Jehovah’s Witness! He further let us know how wrong we were for #1) having no faith and/or #2) remaining Catholic. I tried my hardest to not listen to him but, he is such a squeaky wheel. When I would try to hold a small conversation with him, it often started off with, well in the bible it says…. Listening to my grandfather use the bible as his sole reference made me sad. Sure this man annoys the hell out of me with his crazy opinions but, his opinions were no longer his own as they were now intertwined with a religious sector. What has made matters worse is that he has blended his own ideals, Catholic celebrations, biblical nonsense and chosen to disguise this as part of the Jehovah’s Witness faith. I honestly can’t tell if he has begun to develop dementia, is using the religious faith of Jehovah Witnesses for his own selfish manipulations, or is in fact, insane.
During our family time, my grandfather insisted that Jesus washed the feet of Moses. You know, Moses and the 10 commandments. The story that my grandfather told was that during one of the many preaching that Jesus did, he encountered Moses. Jesus went on to wash the feet of Moses and then tricked him into giving up the 10 commandments. Jesus went on to hide them in the desert and that is the reason Moses was lost in the desert for so many years. Moses then went on to turn Jesus in for hiding the commandments. When the Roman guards came to take Jesus away, Moses denied knowing Jesus, therefore sealing the fate of the savior. Jesus had it coming because you don’t fuck with Moses.
This isn’t the first time I have heard of Jesus and Moses walking side by side. Maybe I’m just biblically illiterate? Many of us know, Raphael’s fresco School of Athens, correct? I once over heard the art director, who was raised a South Baptist, ask a colleague of mine why he decided to get a tattoo of Moses and Jesus. I took a closer look at Aristotle and he does bare a candid resemblance to Jesus and what’s in his hand? A book, maybe five of the ten commandments? Is Moses really holding on to the other five? Did Jesus truly walk side by side with Moses? And am I just a fool for questioning this?
As a teenager I took bible studies with a wonderful teacher, a devote Jehovah’s Witness. I refused to take bible studies in a Catholic Church as I felt out-of-place within the Catholic Church. The only thing I learned was just how wrong my catholic upbringing was. And to stop celebrating my birthday and Christmas. This is the main reason I decided in the end to bible studies after two years. As my grandfather talked more and more to me (and yes to me, as he doesn’t believe in a two person conversation), I realized just how much he truly believed he had found the right religion while rewriting the bible.
As for my grandmother, we asked her why she converted. She just smiled and waiting for my grandfather to be out of the room. She had not converted but instead wanted to learn more about the bible. She had never been to bible study and neither of the churches in my small town in Mexico offered these types of classes. It’s easier to lie about being a convert than fulling accepting a new faith. She did let me know though that the elders of the hall (I have no idea what the men are actually called) have asked her on a number of occasions to convert, right there and then to just get baptized and get it over with. She made it sound like they were desperate. Kind but desperate.
Secretly, I envy them. They have faith and find solace in God when things get tough. I don’t have anything to rely on that in hopes that things will get better. When my baby passed away, my family and friends responded by saying, God has a plan for you. I just got really angry and wanted to punch them, every single one of them. They might have tried to make it sound loving but instead I was filled with hatred for this being that I can’t see or have faith in. A word of advice to those who aren’t grieving and don’t know what to say. Just shut the fuck up and make a cup of coffee/tea as quietly and quickly as possible, then get the fuck out. Even to this day I have an underlying bitterness whenever I step into a church.I can sometimes imagine myself thrashing, kicking, destroying pews, idols, relics. I’m afraid of what I would do if I was left unattended.
I picture myself screaming in anger, in a delusional rage, talking to everyone but to no one in particular. Church goers thinking that I have been possessed by the devil. My grandparents muttering about saying, “and this is why education and reading should not be something a woman goes.” It’s simply too hard to imagine that I’ve just had enough of people saying “everything happens for a reason” or “you just have to have faith.” But I don’t do any of this. I do believe that destruction allows for creativity and forgiveness to take root, I choose to not desecrate the religious iconography of the faithful. Screaming at the top of my lungs inside of a church would not answer my questions and in a larger scale, the burning of a church wouldn’t either. I have asked my questions outside of the church and have received no answer, going inside isn’t going to make a difference. And maybe it’s a good thing, my questions aren’t answered, “you know, they say when you talk to God it’s prayers, but when God talks to you it’s schizophrenia.” (Fox Mulder from The X-Files)
My lack of faith adds to my insecurity as I often feel left out of something magical. I can fake it, I guess. But then my faith wouldn’t be genuine therefore pointless. This isn’t one of those “go ahead and fake it, til you make it” deals. I question why I’m having a hard time putting faith into something I don’t see, hear, or think is even possible. Maybe that’s why. I need proof. People who believe in God don’t need proof of his existence. They trust in the unknown. I don’t. I question where I went wrong or if I ever had faith. I often get really sad over my lack of faith. I feel like I’m missing out on something (and honestly, from what I see from the faithful, it’s not always that great.) It’s not like I went from believing to not believing. I’ve lied about believing.
I was writing a comment, but it got too long. http://wildernessfound.com/my-not-so-perfect-faith/