wtorek, 30 kwietnia 2013


- Are you religious?
Dorothy asked, between bites of toast with raspberry jam.
- No, I am not.
I confessed honestly, raising my cup of coffee and scanning my thoughts in search of adequate elaboration of the answer.
- I mean I come from a Catholic country, religion is deeply embedded in my culture and so has a big influence on me. But I don’t practice religion. I’m not religious at all.
- Are you an atheist?
She continued the subject, which came out of the blue, as we had been previously chatting about the perfect proportions of jam ingredients.
- I don’t know… I hesitated - I can’t say I believe only in reason. I experience some things beyond and I could call it spiritual experience, I suppose. But it is quite undefined. It seems to be powerful and important, and can be manifested in different forms.
I was speaking slowly, trying to capture this elusive matter and figure out what I really think.
- You are religious then!
Dorothy apprised with  a  tone of voice which does not allow for any objection.
- You     don't     have to go to church to be religious. You are, you believe in something.
- Yes, I guess so, if we understand    the   term religious like that…
I politely agreed, although I don’t understand   the term religious that way.
- What makes me mad about Catholicism is this sin and guilt thing. Guilt at every step.
Dorothy continued with   a   strong and loud voice, leaning back   in   her chair.
- Yes, this is very interesting. I don’t like this way of governing souls   neither.
I was trying to realize what    this conversation    was   about – we clearly moved from investigating my attitudes toward    a   broader view at the matter. I joined    in   willingly.
- There is an interesting difference between Catholicism and Protestantism in this matter, by the way. Catholics experience guilt and the source of this feeling is somehow external – comes from social control. Protestants experience shame, which is much more internal,  immanent…
Dorothy muttered and immediately disengaged from the conversation. We proceeded with breakfast, washing dishes and getting ready to go out. Until the end of her weekend visit, most of our attempts to have an interesting or at least relaxing exchange, failed. Participating in the art of good dialogue has become very rare in my experience and that weekend was a perfect example of the struggle to do so. Is the reason rather internal or external? Is it something beyond me?
Anyway, the seed of important thought was planted during that awkward conversation. I lately pay tender attention to the matter of beyondness. It is  a funny process to observe myself changing from someone who doesn’t care much, to a  person who is actively interested. Last night I realized with a smile that this is because of the little creature, listening to my heartbeat inside of me. I am going to be a mother soon and this is a mysterious, spiritual experience, appearing through the reality of biology and body. I am inclined to glorify this process and I think I have the perfect excuse to do so.
The miracle of a person coming into existence captures the definition of universal human experience. Expectant parents and new born babies are lenses through which the beauty and the terror of life can be seen very clearly. We come to the world through physical pain and struggle, yet bringing amazing sensations when growing in our mother’s wombs. We are strong enough to make a journey to this world, yet need immediate care to survive. We are fragile and resilient. We are beautiful – as tiny, sweet, new born phenomena, and ugly – plastered with amniotic fluid; squeezed by pushing our way through    the  cervix. We give our parents confidence and hesitation; excitation and anxiety. We change everything, yet on the whole, we are just  one  among billions   of   others: having potential and opportunities, inheriting limitations and predispositions. We don’t chose to be here, neither do our parents have full control on how we appear. We are created with participation of something from beyond. We can call it what we like.

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