Sunday, March 2, 2008

For God so loved the world, that He gave us some really brilliant architects.

Like I said in my previous post about the hives, I was able to visit my parents in Arizona for a brief spell and I had the great pleasure of escaping the pseudo-suburban golfing wonderland for the [once]-natural and serene landscape of Sedona. Sedona is about 120 miles outside of Phoenix, and it boasts fantastic lung-tickling elevation, lovely natural scenery, and some of the most stunning rock formations known to humankind.

My mother and I kept debating what would be the most fun. I can't say that I'm a fan of wander-shopping, that wonderful type of shopping where you literally walk in circles and buy a whole bunch of crap you don't need, so I suggested we just drive around to see what was out there and then stop when we wanted to stop. My mother remembered a chapel she visited with friends during a trip to Sedona a few months ago, and I said it would be delightful to visit.

Some of you may or may not know (to be honest, I have no idea who reads my journal beyond my small handful of close buddies, my partner and my brother), I was raised Catholic. Not Catholic in the my-parents-had-a-million-babies sense, or in the abortion clinic protesting sense, or even in the remotely committed sense. I went to Catholic school in Kindergarten, 2nd-5th grade. After that I attempted CCD when I was in public school, but decided to check myself out of that hot mess in 6th grade. I grew up going to church out of routine and requirement, never understanding that it was a choice or could even be one, and often resenting the patriarchal and misogynist teachings of the church (specifically Father O'Brien, ahem). Figuring all of this out at a relatively young age didn't come with as much preciseness or clarity as just typed out. The long and short of it is that I basically told my parents that I didn't want to do it any more. And being the Franciscans they didn't realize they were being, they said, "Ok, sure. No worries. Come back to it if you wanna." And for many, MANY years I've avoided it like the plague.

So, I'm back to let you know...that I'm really shaking down my relationship with God and Catholicism. I also have the blessed opportunity to grow in my faith vis-a-vis a responsibility I've recently been requested to perform. Angela is being confirmed soon at St. Sebastian's in Baltimore and I'm her confirmation sponsor. Being a CCD dropout, I was never confirmed. And I was actually kind of glad I never went through the motions of it because it does mean that you are indeed confirming your faith and, for lack of a better way to describe it, an ethereal Salute to the Chief saying that you'll be a good person, a good Catholic, and committed to growing and sharing within the faith (notice I never say Church...because I don't believe in that shit). So coming back and saying Hello to God, in the context of being someone's sponsor, is a very interesting experience.

Back to Sedona. My mother and I drive up to the chapel, which is swarmed by hundreds of tourists looking for great views and a cool place to socialize. I should not be allowed in churches for this very reason. Despite my objection to the four-walled place of worship, I have some very strict rules about being in God's house and one of them is SHUT YER MOUTH. Non-Catholics must not get it. My mom and I walked up the hill to the chapel and I was kind of overcome by it. Was it the most beautiful thing I've ever seen? No, probably not. But I was moved by its placement, it's relationship with the natural ruddy landscape, and with the peacefulness and solitude it must've generated when it was first constructed so many years ago. It made me like a Church-like building in the context of God and Church for the first time in a long while.

My mother and I walked inside, made our way to the pew, genuflected and sat down for a prayer. We then walked to the far right wall where candles were flickering in honor and homage to loved ones here and gone. My mother and I lit our candles, hers for her mother (Nanny) and mine for my mother...and one for my soon-to-be-confirmed BFF. I even took a picture.

So I bring this post back to the blog and wonder how do God and Catholicism really connect to my version of queering domesticity. I have to say it's very simple. What I seek to do in my life is everything My Way, and within the context of doing it my way, I still pay homage to my roots and the person I believe I should be. The person I am and believe I should be is someone who appreciates and honors things I've been tentative about, even when it seems too overwhelming challenging for me to do so. Being queer and believing in God is difficult, but when you see a ruddy, natural, complicated landscape like the rocks in Sedona, and then a perfect, angular, faithful chapel nestled in between...securely...you realize that you can let things like faith in and they fit very nicely in your big queer (sometimes ruddy and rocky) heart.

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