Holy Week

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Growing up in a Catholic household, where I went to church every Sunday and attended religious education every week, has been something that definitely changed over the course of my life. My relationship with faith, organized religion, all changed as a grew older and grew into my own beliefs; however, I always say find me some who was raised in a household where any religion was at center focus and see how well you can wash it away. I am not sure you can. The images follow you. Even now, in my thirties, I have a sense of what I believe, but it is washed in shades of that Catholicism. The songwriter Greg Brown has a great quote in a song of his I love “Hey Baby Hey,” that states,

” You get to me like old time religion did
In my heart when I was a kid
You’re sweet gospel music to my ears
You know how to ease all my fears
And from my heart to yours all I can say is
Hey baby hey baby hey baby hey”- Greg Brown

When I hear that verse, I am reminded of the excitement religion and faith brought to my world as a kid. Hopefully, I’ll share some more poems this week that touch on that. I was a strange kid (I’ve established this), but I was born loving the secular parts of religion. I loved being in churches. At religious education, I was the kid who questioned everything (It was seen as a spiritual gift then). I’m not certain how it’d be looked at now. As a child, you were able to take things in, ask questions that did not really make sense to you, and it was revered as you were ‘trying to understand faith.’ As I got older, the wonderment and questioning became somewhat frowned upon. It was as if, I was given the information and any intent to try to question or understand it was looked at as blasphemous. To me, faith is always going to be a lot of questions and it should be. The faith I had as a kid, should be encouraged as, I think, it’s important to question what you hold dear and believe and continue to have those conversations with others in your spiritual communities, other spiritual communities, and with your own higher power. I think the definition of faith is ‘to wonder, to question, to challenge..” I see no other way to grow in faith. The thing about faith is it has always come easy to me. I was born with that, it seems. I then have been exposed to relationships where the other person has really struggled to find their footing. It’s an every day process for them. They, to me, make it a lot more challenging than it should be with rules, laws, guilt, and shame. I never understood this because to me, this was never a part of my experience. It had profound impacts on the way I viewed religion and caused chaos in certain relationships. It led me to a place where I determined my spirituality is between myself and my higher power and no one in-between. I refuse to allow anyone to get in there. This has removed a lot of the secular elements from faith I loved as a child. There is not a week I miss the ‘secular’ elements of faith than during Holy Week. Growing up, it was a ‘long week,’ but it was full of ups and downs. ‘I will write more about this as the week goes on. Today, I’m sharing a poem about a relationship where I was very much in love and just trying to make this person understand that faith is not this ‘hard thing for me,’ and this person very much saw faith as this struggle/this war, so it began to feel like every day we went to war…

When she turned to him and said You refuse to leave Eden,
They were living in a house where two dying lovers once lived.
He grabbed her under under an indecently full moon, night stars
Revealed nothing and did deny the solace of sleep. She
Laid awake next to him cataloguing all the books she must travel
Through: Exodus, Job, Revelation, and Psalms. Sleep,
He smiles. She stared deep into his eyes, a mixture of
Earth, blood, and forest in their coloring. In paradise,
He has been taught men don't speak much, so he touches her
Hair and makes her laugh. He changes the record, executing
For a moment, his own fear lying next to her listening to 
Her pant. Living in a dormant volcano he fears
One day will awaken. He holds hers like
Freshly washed cotton or silk. The white curtains 
Ruffle. Forced to move by air that has been blowing
Throughout the acres of time that separated the fall of man
To the garden that still rests in his eyes. She lies awake
Feeling excommunicated laying in a bed of Red Geraniums
With him, which she chose by her own accord. Sin
On her lips feels poisonous  to him or she starts to believe. He
Senses this and pulls her closer, promised to build her a boat. It does
Not feel like a lie because his body is strong as a sail, itself,
Capable of navigating the seas and she feels nervous because she believes
He does not know Jesus and has not climbed Mount Sinai. This man,
Who refuses to leave Eden is pure garden, a white root signaling
A desire to penetrate her earth, with the capacity to mate. She fears
Ruining such a pretty thing and dreams of planting weeds
In the midst of all his lemon and avocado trees. He is 
Not afraid and pulls her body closer to his own. She needs to know
If he accustomed to the tempestuous nature he brings
To the the woman in his life. He does not answer. 
He just pierces her with his eyes and she feels nails. She feels she cannot
Make this analogy to him because she does not believe he has met
The cross or the Son of Man, yet she loves the fact that faith with him
Requires nothing but her simple presence. He pulls her closer
and she whispers again, But you refuse to leave Eden.
He hears she feels in paradise when she is with him.
She repeats and repeats You need to leave Eden
and he keeps pulling her closer until one night she offers him
An apple to bite and he understands she will not let him love her
Until he bites the apple causing the fall of man. She needs
To believe love is a sin, and he can't sink his teeth into
The skin of such an idea.

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