My parents’ room is the holiest place on earth outside of the Vatican. There’s a picture of Pope John Paul with a rosary hung around it, a wooden cross with a hanging black Jesus that our landlord brought back from Guatemala, a porcelain Our Lady of Fatima that belonged to my grandmother, a pink angel whose wings emit light, the cutest little baby Jesus whose nude little body my mother covered with a scarf, and three (yes, three!) portraits of Jesus Christ.
Sounds extreme, doesn’t it? I used to laugh at my mother’s religious fervor, but now I realize that they provide her with comfort. Although she gasps every time I tell her I do not believe in her God, she never imposes her religion on me. It is something she cherishes and holds sacred, as did her mother. Her God, her Son, and her Holy Spirit have never let her down. They’ve gotten her out of some tough times. They connect her to her parents and her siblings and all of the angels. She believes with all of her heart in their eternal power and benevolence.
I, on the other hand, stopped believing a very long time ago. For some years I proclaimed myself as an atheist. That is no longer true, for I believe in a spirit which is bigger than us which creates us and guides us and connects us. Certain events in my life tell me that spirits of my passed loved ones remain and keep us safe. I just lost faith in Catholicism, and in a wrathful, discriminate God. I have never had proof of a God or a Jesus or a Virgin Mary, so I have never been able to believe in them (I can just picture you gasping, as does my mother).
Last night I slept in my mother’s room, and while I listened to my mother’s breathing get deeper as she fell into sleep, my eyes wandered to the portrait of Jesus which hangs to the left of the bed. Enough light was making its way through the window for me to make out His fair, long hair, his round halo, and the eternal flame and thorned heart which rest in the middle of His chest. It’s the same image of Jesus that we see everywhere. He’s quite handsome, isn’t He, despite the somber look and signs of the stigmata? In the darkness I remembered that He has these really round and profound eyes that seem to look right into you. I then did something that I haven’t done in a very long time, since childhood.
I had a heart to heart with the man who sacrificed himself for us. I asked Him for guidance, for answers, for some light. I asked Him what was to be of my life. Where do I turn? What is right for me? How did I end up where I find myself? When will it all make sense? When will it get better? I wasn’t asking to win the lottery or for an overnight transformation. I was simply asking for confirmation that I am not alone.
He never moved. He never said a thing. It was merely a silhouette with flowing locks. I might as well have been talking to a cheap reproduction of the Mona Lisa. He offered me no answers, no peace of mind, no reason or rhyme. Was it because He has bigger things to deal with other than the confusion of a little brat such as myself? Did I not ask the right questions? Could it be that I am that far gone, a lost cause? Has He finally lost faith in me as I did Him? Or could my theory be correct – that He is simply not there?
I’m not sure. All I can be sure of is that there was no response. There was no consolation in a time when I really, really needed it.
And I don’t think there’s nothing I can do now to right my wrongs, I wanna talk to God but I’m afraid cause we ain’t spoke in so long… –Jesus Walks, Kanye West