Monday, August 3, 2009

Faith Off

I am in dire need of a faith lift. It’s not so much that I’m suffering a loss of faith – more that I never really had one in the first place. I need radical faith reconstruction.

I have been half-heartedly window-shopping for a faith for years. Sometimes I designate the serious research work to a diligent friend and she brings me stories of Baha’i, Islam and Judaism, I listen to the rules and whine.

Having given up my personal space and my brain space to family life, I have difficulty coming at anything that involves more self-denial.

The thing about faith is that it looks so good on other people, and every time I try it on it just doesn’t seem to fit. An experience which is devastating enough on Bay View Terrace let alone within the darkened corners of one’s soul.

Faith on other people is beautiful, and light, like a Collette Dinnigan dress, and I want to sniff at it and touch the hem of its garment while I clump around in my spiritual sack-cloth and ashes. And deep down I know that if I just had me some of that faith, my sack-cloth and ashes would feel like a Collette Dinnigan dress. But maybe I accidentally got bleach on my epiphany and now I just can’t seem to find it.

I have a friend who is a Buddhist and while I know little about this faith other than that it was HUGE in the late eighties - like Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, I do know they don’t like to kill things, even little tiny terrifying things with lots of legs. Whilst suffering our yearly caterpillar infestation, an annual gift from our Cape Lilac tree – I sought advice on the Buddhist approach to such a situation.

“You have to ask them to leave.”
“And what if they don’t?”
“Well, you apologise, and then you kill them.”


Then I wonder if faith is like a buffet, if one can be a little bit Country and a little bit Rock n’ Roll, as it were. Say, Shamanism early on in the week and hell-fire and brimstone on Fridays, which would fit perfectly with my Circadian Rhythms.

My diligent friend and co-faith-window-shopper recently found herself in Buddhist Temple in Thailand, witness to a cleansing ceremony. Strange things happened there. Inanimate objects moved of their own volition. An egg, which had been rubbed on someone, FLEW across the room. Her Manolo Blahnik's felt strangely inappropriate.

“I’m a Buddhist now.” she said later, sheepish, fresh-faithed in her divinely fitting epiphany.

As I watched her scamper, bare-foot and blissed out, off into the white light, I was filled with envy. “Can I come too?” I wanted to bleat.

But epiphanies, like Manolo Blahnik's, aren't for sharing.

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