Somewhere on my hard drive lies a column–most likely under a folder labeled â€œPANKâ€–that I intended to post this week. I decided to save it for next week. Or maybe not. Depends on where I go with this new, sudden column. That tends to happen when I sit down and show up to write: my plans go astray; questions collide in my mind to form colossal mysteries; I chase the ball of yarn to see where it leads me. I like showing up; Iâ€™ve fallen in love with discipline.
I said to someone today I kinda hope the Rapture does happen on Saturday. She asked me why and I replied Well, I doubt Iâ€™d go to Heaven, but Iâ€™d like the believers to get their wish. I think I meant to say The end of the world is fine with me but I didnâ€™t say that. I turned it outward to the Christians–I guess theyâ€™re Christians?–as though I truly long for some of them to disappear and enjoy copious amounts of milk and honey. Iâ€™m assuming thatâ€™s the menu of Heaven. Or whatever you like. I probably wouldnâ€™t eat. Iâ€™d probably get upset because I got Raptured before I wrote a new novel and visited the Netherlands and made it rain at a strip club [with my wifeâ€™s permission]. But all of that is moot since Iâ€™m not going anywhere on Saturday–I donâ€™t plan on it, anyway.
I also said of the Rapture To tell you the truth, I kinda want to see it happen. Something in my comic book brain would like to see the fantastic occur. It would be awesome, in my opinion, to see butt-naked people float up to the sky while I suffer through the End Times with the rest of the world. Iâ€™d probably think to myself Is it too late for me to believe? because, ever the agnostic, I believe in what I see–more importantly, in what I experience.
I never felt lifted, light and abound with love because of the Bible, of the Word of God, of anything related to organized religion. I donâ€™t know what itâ€™s like to feel eased and comforted by an Unseen Hand. I canâ€™t say God will take care of it for me because Iâ€™m too well aware of my own influence. That is, I typically cause my own problems–forgetting to pay bills, not returning phone calls, refusing to slow down on a highway–and itâ€™s on me to fix my shit.
And Iâ€™m not suggesting that I, agnostic, take responsibility for my actions as opposed to them, the true believers. Itâ€™s not about that. Itâ€™s not about tearing them down. Itâ€™s about jealousy. Iâ€™m envious because something comforts them, massages them, something beyond Man. The best I can do is a prescribed anti-depressant; I have to wait six to eight weeks for the meds to take effect, but the Rapture is four days away. Yet one more thing I wonâ€™t experience.
Anyway, Iâ€™m not entirely sure if Iâ€™m a true agnostic. I believe in God. I donâ€™t believe in any beliefs. Does this make me Spiritual, the esoteric descriptor used by people who want to fuck and get high and lie and brush it all away by saying at The End Câ€™mon man, I was just being Spiritual. I mean, if I KNEW you existed…?
[i should say the fucking and getting high and lying all applies to me, except for getting high unless cigarettes count.]
Buddhism is the closest Iâ€™ve gotten to believing in a religion–Zen, to be exact–and it grabbed me from the beginning. In the beginning, Life is Suffering and I can dig that. I know all about suffering–you do, too–and I couldnâ€™t turn my back on such a sudden truth. Still, I havenâ€™t visited a temple or meditated or chanted, but Iâ€™ve read books and tried to let people do as they wish without judgement and I hate gossip, too. Iâ€™m learning in these final hours. Iâ€™m learning.
Maybe my religion is Writing. Well, that sounds awfully convenient and very Annie Dillard, but it might be true. I also said to the woman I write three hours a night, every night, except for weekends in which I write for four or five hours and go to bed around 3 AM. To practice belief is an exercise in discipline; you show up, open yourself, let the stars explode and consume you, wipe you out, renew you and should none of that happen, if you find yourself waiting to no avail, you at least showed up. You gave it to God–or Tabula Rasa, lord and savior. You did your part. You can rest in peace.
We spill our temporary bodies and meager hours into the most important things. We might not practice what we preach–I sure as fuck donâ€™t–but we practice what we love and what we love broods and bubbles within our individual cauldrons. Which is why I donâ€™t judge someone who loves reality TV or meth; actually, my writing pays me as much as reality TV pays its watcher, or meth to its addict, so weâ€™re all in the same fucked family, so to speak. We all look for our ways to ease the pain. As they say, Life is Suffering. Word to Buddha.
I donâ€™t know where Iâ€™ll be when the Rapture strikes–maybe at work, maybe in my car, maybe at this computer editing next weekâ€™s column–but wherever I am, Iâ€™ll keep my eyes to the sky. I wonâ€™t believe until I see it, but Iâ€™ll hope for it the way I still hope for a lightsaber, a robe and the power to wield the Force, at which point Iâ€™ll become a Sith versus a Jedi which means, most likely, Iâ€™m not going to Heaven. But the Sith tend to have cooler powers than the Jedi–lightning and Force Chokes–so my heartâ€™s in the right place. I got hope and I love what I love. Donâ€™t judge me. Saturday’s coming.