My belief in whatever

Miscellanea #59: Notions of god as chocolate pudding and the faults of my bitter provocations

When I let go of my notion of god I discovered that a world of possibility exists. Concerning belief, I was immediately disenchanted with far-out ideas, miracles, and conceptual framework. I wanted to deal with what I knew and felt deeply — hurt, pain, and anger.

Bitterness aside, I was not unfamiliar with ‘suffering’. I always figured that any search for meaning and realness lied in the truth of pain. But instead of exploring that truth, I had internalized and projected it onto the organization of my fears and insecurities. Presented so young with religious havens of good-enough-answers, I fell into them limp and softly. All was well and the answers were mine.

Years passed, enthusiasm dulled, and the disenchantment began, and with it denial. When I finally came into my own and acknowledged the groaning fear that stitched my life together, I was able to realize that I never needed whatever the hell I was fashioning. Life as it was, grounded and without magic, was enough to make up for whatever faith I lacked. I could believe in easy and silly things like lightning bugs or chocolate pudding. I could believe in the seriousness of my own body or something vaguely consequential like the way the asphalt smells after a good rain. Or I could always fall backwards into the melancholy of daily struggle. Meaning was everywhere, and I was determined to see it in whatever I saw fit — so long as it provoked the standing order of the pretentious decade behind me.

But therein lied a problem. Was my belief in whatever reliant on the trivialities of bitter provocations? If so — and it was so — I had to move forward and find something more. If my belief in whatever was to be a peaceful religion, it couldn’t remain so innately anti.

To see ‘god’ in everything must’ve then relied on an acceptance of everything as ‘real enough’, and to my dismay that meant I should again accept the daisy-world of church life as a valid universe of belief inside of my own religion.

This is all so introspective. Personal experience aside, I think it is important that we all have a reckoning with the parts of our pasts that disturb us most — because as I learned in the Christian tradition, strength is born of weakness. Weakness is nothing to be exorcised as much as it is something to be leaned into and realized as our strength and source of comfort. I see so much to gain in accepting the parts of ourselves that we mostly abhor and then lovingly interrogating our bitterness.

Here’s where I started: If you could change one thing about yourself or your past — what would it be?

Here’s what I’ve been into:

The easy-pop soundtrack of sweaty afternoons on my porch — Honne’s new album, ‘no song without you’:

Jonathan Haidt Is Trying to Heal America’s Divisions — The Atlantic
“The lesson from so many ancient traditions, and from social psychology, is that we need to be slower to judge and quicker to forgive. You can’t be hating and learning at the same time.”

The Spirits of American Beach — The Bitter Southerner
In 1935, Florida’s first Black millionaire, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, purchased a stretch of oceanfront property to provide “a place for recreation and relaxation, without humiliation” for African American people. Hold a conch to your ear and you might hear the ocean. Listen close to history and you might hear the whispers.”

Wealth, shown to scale

10 Things I Have Learned — Milton Glaser