The Sunbaked King

In Need of a Retreat

I stopped going to church when I brokered a deal with God and got the short end of the stick. Letting go was an easy decision to make; I’ve always thought that I’m forcing myself to appear at a celebration that provided me with little personal growth. Besides, there is little reason to believe that people think differently. When I look around the church, I find people who silently share the same question in my mind: “Why bother?” I see it in the way they bow down and text between their knees; I see it in the way they refuse to get front-row seats and opt to stand by the exit, instead; I see it in the children’s cries of agony.

Inspiration, much less spiritual conversion, is hard to come by when events happen in routine. Even the devotees and the believers find understanding in solace, in isolation, in the privacy of their own prayers. There is little room for personalized spiritual thinking in utterances made a thousand times. How do you find the answers for the relentless questions in your head with messages that are addressed to all of mankind? How do you expect to find your spirituality when you’re only one of many?

Those who text, those who position themselves for a convenient exit, and those children might not even think of these musings anymore. They are bound by tradition, bound by a misplaced concept of faith, and bound by the promise of a delicious lunch after in the nearby mall. The concept of personal salvation within the context of an organized mass celebration is lost on them.

The sad truth is, it might also be lost on me.

A part of me wishes that I were that guy once again. The guy who read books on the Vatican and on priesthood because he felt a certain calling during his first year in college. The same guy who, despite being grumpy at being awakened at 5 AM on weekends, found peace in 6 AM masses as a sacristan. The very same guy who once wanted to read the Bible from start to finish because it beats the best epics ever created. Yes, that guy. The guy who once truly believed. 

I don’t know what happened to that guy anymore, but I might have seen a glimpse of him again this week. It’s funny how that happens– how he appears at moments of melancholia, at times of weakness. It almost seems like a revelation of hope, an affirmation of a certain good that resides within me. I miss him, and I think he misses me, too.

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Filed under: Being Blue, Ra

2 Responses

  1. White says:

    Wow! I don’t know what to call it but a similar entry has been sitting among my drafts, just waiting to be published.

    It’s a very personal matter to suggest what to do. But in my case, I decided to temporarily veer away from those structured gatherings. I felt that I needed a more personal experience of my faith.

  2. kerwinray says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, White. I appreciate them. While I understand the need for structured worship (after 4 years of theology, it gets drilled in your brain), engaging in it is another matter altogether.

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