"God Is "l'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle" "- Eat, Love, Pray-Elizabeth Gilbert. Originally referring to a description of God from the works of Dante.
If there was ever a time a wisecracking, slightly bitter, perpetually misunderstood, highly sensitive angst ridden slacker would ponder the existence of God, it would have to be Monday. And Tuesday. And Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Of this week and last week and last month and last year and alll the way back into childhood, when my parents coined a phrase for me, "Morals By Puglet". For some unknown reason I have a strong moral compass, a belief that things are truly black and white but an ability to see in shades of gray.
I wonder often if I have the ability to function in society. I don't think I have that drive. I like food too much to be a hermit, because living on squirrels and beans would probably make me yak after a time, even if I did braise them in moonshine all the time. I felt this week I may have been destined to live forever in a small part of a great city, but that would have been in a perfect world, a world of which I have no foothold in. I want an apprenticeship in life, much like I want an apprenticeship with a chocolatier, but one where my abilities are not judged on speed and efficiency and productivity, but on sheer determination and passion and expression.
My absolutes have never been measured in accomplishments but in emotions I can pull from someone else or recognize in myself. I'm usually a performer with no audience, a writer with no readers, a comedian with no jokes, a cook with no menu. I try and act like I have no expectations, so no one can have any from me. I say I believe in nothing, because if you have no expectation, you have no dissapointment. In this imagined perfect world, on which I at best have a tenuous grip.
My belief in something bigger than myself has not been rocked, as some might think, by the events of the past year or decade. It's smaller and more subtle, only occasionally cohesive and able to be put into words or images or medical jargon. Everyone understands the crash of a plane or the fall of a building, a physical scar or a broken heart. It's harder to explain a promise broken, a fear of the dark, a restless mind that keeps you from sleep, a chorus from a song, the phrase " We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams", an emotion that goes unsaid, a sentence unwritten.
My belief in something that is bigger than myself comes at the first bite of a steak tartare with mustard seeds and small sour pickles and a raw quails egg. It's the lemon squeezed over sweetbreads, the crack of a spoon through the top of a creme brulee, the perfect firmness of a raspberry right before you press your tongue against your teeth, the split second when chocolate recrystallizes on a marble slab.
It's the gentle snore of a pug that lies curled behind my knees, the perfection of warm sweet creamy coffee on a fire escape, the buzz and suprise of a tattoo needle inking my skin, the smile that tugs up the corners of my mouth when I think of someone, the way my face hurts when I'm happy, the sound of my own voice when I read outloud, my own loud laugh, clean pajamas on a rainy afternoon with nothing to do but read and write and read some more.
It's a knowledge that I am worthy of love, that I am capable of love, that letting somebody love me feels good. It's when I set aside my fear and let my wishes be said, say my wishes into the vast space just in case someone might be listening. My petioning to the universe had changed in slow but not subtle ways. It's no longer a plea for survival or acceptance or understanding, an angry questioning, a faltering statement. It's a "I know you are but what am I" tease now, a statement of purpose, a lack of apology.
God is the love that moves the sun and other stars.
The gravity and force within. We all spin on our own axis, have our own poles, our own northern stars. My soundtrack is different than yours, my holy scripture may be a cookbook and my prayer a snippet from Dylan Thomas, my holy experience not a transcendental meditation but realizing that nirvana for me is a hand intertwined in mine and my declarations of faith I carry permanently on my skin and not hanging from my neck.
I never know what to say when I'm asked about my faith. Because my faith is just that, mine, and mine alone.