Tuesday, October 18, 2005

That was then this is now

Religion can be a frightening thing. For a 12-year-old. Or it can be a good thing? I'm not sure, except that I know that one religion, in particular, frightened me. And still does.

Lately. I've been thinking. And talking. Always talking. About baptism for the dead. The memory as clear as Jello. 12 years old and allowed to enter their hallowed temple for the first time. All white. Polyester again. Like eight-year-old baptism, but 12 now. If eight is the age at which I could know the difference between right and wrong, then what at 12? Or were we simply agents, blatant disregard for our lack of understanding? This time, instead of my name, dead names. Names read, names that I could not understand for their length and ancientness. An unheard language to a 12-year-old ear. Under. Water. Under water. Baptismal font with oxen round and bathtub water and nearly teenagers wondering why--the mussed up hair, these clothes, the ugliness. Why us? Why must we act as proxy for those dead and what do we have to do with their say in it, the honor and privilege propaganda making sense to some but not all.

If I had the imagination, the creativity that he did, I would have been able to believe. To see the spiritual connect, a thin glowing line between death and life, the lasso to Purgatory (I forget the proper name for the spirit place). I would have felt something. But then. Back then. I felt nothing. Consternation. Annoyance? Simple-minded disgruntlement. Not knowing then what I know now about the questions that I should have asked.

Now is not then. Then is not now. I'm thirty five and I should know this. I want to know this.

I do know this. Sometimes it is difficult to remember.

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