I'll have a latte please, and a coffee for the Savior...Part 2 of Drinks With Divinity.
|Sometimes in a person's life, bad stuff happens. Oh, sure, there are those who believe that bad shit is always happening, but really- how bad are our lives? Really? Most of our little dramas, played out on the sound stage of the soap opera of our lives are so idiosyncratic and superfluous (the obligatory big words- getting them over with quickly) that sometimes I wonder- do we really know what a bad life is? And what exactly constitutes a bad life? I mean, seriously, that time you broke up with your significant other and had them post your sex tape on the internet...what's that in comparison to what Christ went through? You were never nailed to a piece of wood, left hanging for a few days, and finally stabbed in the side with a spear were you? No you were not. Of course, neither was I, but I wasn't exactly bitching about my terrible life, was I?|
Four years had passed since my tea party with God, and there had been no looking back. Christianity just didn't appeal to me any more, aside from the obvious anthropological study material provided by its history and assimilation with the Pagan religions that preceded it. But enough about that. I was a Pagan now, with a lot more knowledge, a God and a Goddess, and the balls (hypothetically speaking) to back up my beliefs against any moron who tried to sell me some cock-n-bull story of eternal damnation and orgies every full moon with Satan. No, the chats with Satan would come later, when I could actually drink. The betrayer doesn't waste his time with tea and crumpets- he's all about the hard stuff.
God was clearly extra busy. Must have been a crisis of faith somewhere in the world, or something- probably in Iraq, where they call him Allah and America was currently bombing. But, whatever the case, God was entirely too preoccupied with doing his Godly Duties to visit with an old friend. However, it doesn't do to ignore anyone- I could go ape noodles and hit up a Catholic Church, or something. No, God couldn't just ignore me and, apparently, Jesus was just coming back from a long vacation plastering his image on burnt potato chips around the world so, as luck would have it, I got to talk to Christ.
Why would I be talking to Christ? Good question. I wasn't really sure myself, but I felt the urge to connect with my past just a little bit as I hit halfway through my college years. Or maybe I was just bored. Whichever reason it was, I had requested a chat with God and, two months later, I woke up to Jesus Christ sitting in my room with a cup of coffee, a doughnut, and the morning paper.
“Good Morning,” the Christ greeted, lowering the sports section to peer at me over the edge. Sipping at his coffee, he beckoned me to join him. I didn’t immediately crawl out of bed, and would’ve preferred to throw the covers over my head and vainly try to capture sleep for just a few more minutes, but the heady aroma of freshly brewed coffee hypnotized my well-rested limbs. With no command from my brain, my arms threw the covers from my body, and my legs slipped over the side of the bed. Seconds later, I was sitting at the table with Jesus, a cup of coffee in my hand and no recollection of having crossed the room.
“Good coffee,” I yawned, taking a sip of the creamy brown liquid and stretching the sleep from my resisting muscles.
The Christ smiled and held out a plate of pastries and bagels. “Would you like something? A bagel?”
“Mmmm, yeah. Lightly toasted with some cream cheese, please. Oh, don't trouble yourself...I can do it.” I was already forgetting that he was the Son of God. He could think a toasted bagel and a toasted bagel would appear, in all its steaming glory, on the table before me. What? I had just woken up and the caffeine hadn’t really quite hit yet. Don’t tell me you’re fully functional before you have your morning cup o’ Joe.
“What kind of bagel would you like?” The question was nonchalant. Clearly, whatever he had to say to me could wait. I mean, seriously, it has to be difficult plastering your face on potato chips and grilled cheese sandwiches. Maybe the man just wanted a chance to relax a bit before getting on to our “chat”. I wouldn’t push him.
“Hrm…asiago cheese, please.” The bagel was in my hand and I was chewing on the first bite. It was a bit hot. “Jesus!”
“Erm…nothing. It was a touch hot…” I looked down and chewed quickly, avoiding Christ’s eyes. “I'm sorry I said your name in vain.”
Christ shrugged. “I forgive you.”
“Really?” I took another bite of my bagel and thought for a moment. “Yeah, that does seem right.”
Looking up from reading the latest stats on Major League Baseball, Christ put the paper down and crossed his hands on the table. “Does it?”
Well, this is just grand. I was being grilled on right and wrong by the Christian Messiah. I swallowed hard and took another bite, stalling for time. If this had been God, I wouldn’t have dared, but surely Christ, who had been one of us, a human being…surely he’d not begrudge me a time to gather my thoughts. “Yeah. Yeah, it does. Only you would forgive someone speaking your name in vain.” I gave a weak laugh. Ok…so the answer wasn’t great, but it was the best I could come up with under the circumstances. I was under stress. Jesus Christ was sitting across from me and he was engaging me in thoughtful conversation.
Too much to hope that we could rail against the Yankees together, huh?
“That’s not an answer, young lady.”
“I know. It’s just that…” I was stalling. I knew it…He knew it…the air buzzing around knew it. I’m sure people in Georgia were probably shouting ‘get on with it’, somewhat reminiscently of Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”. “I’m having problems with some of your…”
“Yeah. Christians. Actually…I suppose it’s more accurate to say that they seem to have a huge and unerring problem with me. They’re an ardent lot, you know.” Looking around the table, I wondered whether there might be something to occupy my time- some candy, a comic, anything! But, no, Christ had the comics. So that settles that debate once and for all: Christ did, in fact, laugh. Take that, Medieval Priests! The Franciscans had it right! Finally, my eye caught on a spoon and I set about pouring myself another cup of coffee, concentrating with undue enthusiasm as the milk and sugar spiraled into the strong, black liquid.
Christ smiled. “Yes. They are ardent. Perhaps a little too much so. But, alas, my Father gave humanity Free Will. I can only tell people what they need to hear- it’s up to them to follow it, or not. Luckily, most people got the idea. There are a few that take it too far. Some of those do it out of love for their fellow man, which is in essence what I taught them, though they’re taking it in a different direction than I intended. Others preach through hate and profess it to be my teachings that they’re spreading.”
“Then why don’t you correct them, Jesus? Your father told me four years ago that I was meant to follow His word down a different path. And I have followed that path to the best of my ability. But all I’ve gotten is, excuse my French, shit from people professing to follow your Path! You preached Love, Christ! Love! Love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek, preach Love, follow Love, et cetera. Sometimes I think that humans are so caught up in the rules and the regulations that they forget the message.”
Sure, it’s a little straightforward. But I didn’t think beating around the bush would really do it for the Lord. He was on break, but he’d have to go back to appearing on a mountain somewhere or supporting his Mother’s sudden appearances around the world. Somewhere, a statue was probably crying red tears and Catholics around the world were going nutso, thinking that the end of the world was nigh. Sometimes I think that people never really read the Bible ‘cause it clearly states that the end of the world would simply be the beginning of a newer, better one under Christ. Yeah, it says that. Go read it some time.
I think that it’s safe to take a break now and delve into a personal commentary on something completely and totally unrelated to the purpose of my chat with Christ. Or maybe it’s just some sort of allegorical fable with a moral similar to that which will be evident by the end of my coffee talk. One time, I was at a baseball game and the team I support was down a run in the bottom of the ninth, and up to bat. There were two outs and the other team was pretty much celebrating the win without actually showing any signs of it. You know, you should never actually show signs that you think you’re a shoe-in to win. It offends the Competition Gods. Seriously…look at the Titanic. No one can sink it? Right. Down it goes.
But I digress from my digression. It was two outs in the bottom of the ninth, with two men on base. The batter had, as in any famous rendition of any dramatic situation in any baseball game, a full count. However, unlike Casey, this player hit the ball. Nothing special- just a line drive into center field- but the runner on third was easily able to score and the runner on second was waved around to home. Meanwhile, the center-fielder had gotten to the ball and made a perfect throw to the cut-off man, who relayed the throw home. The catcher had the ball and was squared to tag the runner well before the runner was due to come home. But, determined that the game wouldn’t go into extra innings, the runner pushed and slammed into the catcher with all his strength, knocking the ball loose and landing on the plate, safe. Later, the catcher admitted that he had lost his concentration and had possibly mishandled the play; the pressure of the crowd’s cheering and what was on the line had led him to allow the winning run to score.
And that, my friends, is called choking. Sometimes, when important things are a factor, everyone speaking against you can, despite the feeling and fervor within yourself, cause self-doubt and it will allow you to destroy what you have worked so hard to build. Instead of a tied game and extra innings, the game is over and in the other team’s favor.
“Child,” Christ said, smiling and clearing the table with a wave of his hand. Instead, before us was a book. “This is the Story of Your Life. When you die, it is with this that St. Peter will test you. In here is your meeting with my Father and Athena. He is the one who told you that you’re not supposed to be a Christian. The good thing about the Word is that every word has several different interpretations and connotations. The way you follow the Word is different than the way Christians follow it, but it’s not wrong. My Father would not lead you down the wrong path.” Christ laughed. It was a good sound and it made me smile to hear it. One thing the Christ had going for him- his charisma. “That’s Satan’s job. Watch out for him. He’ll be after you, you know. Christian or no, he is still the tempter and he is very good at his job.”
“I’ll do that.” I stretched my arms a bit and sighed. “Is there any way I could have a…?” A soda appeared in my hand. “Thanks. And thanks for helping me. I’ve had so many people telling me I’m wrong and so few who support me…I was afraid that what had happened might have been a dream. Somehow not real. That I was just…being stupid.”
“The good thing about faith is that it works in mysterious ways. Never doubt your beliefs. Never. Faith is a thing of the soul and your soul will know the truth as you are meant to live it. You aren’t Christian, but that doesn’t mean you don’t follow my Father’s message and mine. Don’t listen to the other people. Their truth is not the same as yours and it never will be. You are Pagan and you are meant to be. We have always been here, but Christianity has not. What you believe came first. Blessed Be, child." Here Christ stopped and twisted his lips in a wry smirk. "And just know that the Yankees and the Steelers are Satan’s teams. Never bet on them.”
Christ disappeared, leaving only peals of his laughter behind him. Chuckling, I clicked my tongue and gave the air a thumbs up. “Righto, Christ!” I felt good. Good and strong. So many people had tried to change me, but I wouldn’t let them. I’m Pagan and they're not. But there are so many definitions of right and wrong, just as there are many different shades of black and white. Only humans cling to the idea that their faith is right and everyone else is going to be punished. Gods don’t work in that realm of the observable. And sometimes I think that we should just stop deciding what God wants for us and let Him do the deciding by following our souls; then, and only then, are we following God’s plan. Now I knew that and would never question it again.
Oh, and I told you the Yankees were evil! Didn't I? I told you! And no one believed me! Yeah. I mean, if Jesus says they're evil, they must be evil. Not that we ever got to expound upon his statements; his duties called, I suppose. Oh well. Who's to say we can't have coffee again? We've got as long as we need. As long as we need.