make me think
make me think
I once met a human.
who was soft and hilarious.
I had known other humans.
but this particular specimen
was something of an oddity.
it didn’t dance or sing,
or give a flying fuck what I thought of it.
In a movie, this would mean I liked it more:
manic pixie dream team.
but in reality, I think too highly of myself
to be around a human who doesn’t care for my opinion.
just a human
who’s soul was soft like
the blood-red jelly
of a doughnut;
like the dark, dangerous mud
of a crowded swimming hole.
i hate to get my hands sticky,
and crowded swimming holes make bad instagrams.
We sat in a circle, debating, talking, philosophizing. We were nameless strangers, together by chance, with the rare opportunity to discuss politics and religion and morality and money without making our mothers cry. One spoke up and said, by the way I think homosexuality is a choice and if homosexuals are discriminated against they get what they deserve because god doesn’t approve of that. And the girl on the left visibly shuddered, she had tears in her eye and I could feel her story moaning.
I’m not a relativist, but I am trained to understand cultural context and know that the one who spoke up is a product of socialization and environment and personal struggles, just as the girl on the left is. But maybe because I don’t know the same God, I can’t help myself and voice my disagreement. (I’m never as articulate in these moments as I want to be. Afterwards, I think of all the things I should have mentioned, the big words and short sentences I should have used).
The girl on the left’s teary eyes find mine and I hope it means she knows I am forever on her side.
Later, after we had talked our tongues into exhaustion and the tension had become thick like American arteries and we are gathering our things, readying for our different realities, the one who first spoke up eyes the notebook I chronically scribble thoughts in: can I take a copy of your notes? I’m surprised and maybe flattered? I look at my notebook, a handmade, pretentious thing with lines that my pen can never follow — at the doodles and love poems to lunch I had written next to quotes and BIG ideas from our meeting. I feel naked and exposed.
I tear the page out and when I hand it over our fingers brush, and I hope it means we are on the same side.
For some reason this is the most alive I have felt in ages. Someone I fundamentally disagree with on at least seventeen topics has just collected a small piece of who I am. What happens with that piece is none of my business, but maybe our stories will change each other’s. There is power in colliding narratives. I walk away relishing in our vulnerability. To be able to disagree and still see each other’s beating hearts gives me hope for humanity.
I need a God that I can get behind
So when I look into the eyes of devastation, I can say “God loves you” and won’t feel like i’m lying
what kind of love lets humans have their way?
I don’t like to say “i’m praying for you” because its not true
but also because my prayers are so flaccid
I talk to God
ask Him every question a good journalist would. or yell at him really quietly so he doesn’t smite me
either way He pleads the fifth
and I feel my cheeks warm because either i’m insane for believing or i’ve been unfaithful
Sometimes, when i’m desperate, I ask him for favors, usually world peace, and this makes me feel better
Then I open my eyes and He’s not there
because i’m blind? or a raving lunatic?
Sometimes I stumble across something of the Transcendent and I feel God flick my bones
an empty street
my nephew’s laugh
a summer thunderstorm
my father’s wrinkled hands
the smell of pine trees
a vulnerable body
Then I know.
But if there is Love behind this crazy mess how can He just sit there while we shatter
I call my mother and the earth mama
I call God dear and sometimes mystery man
I would never call my mama a bad name
I don’t think God’s a man
But men have hurt me and loved me and understood me better than most other genders so it seems reasonable
God, if you’re listening–
I wonder how many times that’s been said–
I can’t help but believe in you
but I don’t know how to know you
how to be okay with your tolerance
Teach me your ways
or better yet,