Yesterday I pulled into the library parking lot right next to a mom who was trying to wrangle three kids into her van. One of her boys was not having it. And poor mom was, to put it delicately, losing her shit. During the three minutes it took me to park, she had to chase, grab and haul this kid out of the street, all while making sure his whining twin sister and wiggling two-year-old brother were also safely settled into their car seats. (I know their ages because she told me. See below.)
“Jesus Christ,” she hissed, “you guys are acting like brats right now!”
I flinched, not because she called her kids brats, they were being brats, but because she used Jesus Christ as a swear. This reaction from a momma who last week had to ignore her own five-year-old prancing around gleefully yelling “fuck” in the hopes that said child would forget this delightful word, which he learned from me. I’m trying to stave off having to be the mom whose kid drops the f-bomb in Sunday school for as long as I can!
First, I realize now I should have given that mom a hug. We moms need hugs when we’ve held it together for so long and inevitably crumble from the pressure of mothering. I did actually say hello, asked if she needed help and told her I totally understood as I have two crazy littles of my own. But I should have hugged her. Hug all the moms! We deserve it.
Second, why did the Jesus Christ bother me more than the woman’s suffering? Why did it take me a minute to get over Jesus Christ before I could pay attention to the real problem?
I failed to see that it was a reaction, a trigger from my upbringing. When I was a kid taking god’s name in vain was like, one of the really bad sins. Even today, it’s funny how I could be in a woman’s bible study and admit that I struggled with judgment or lust or something and no one would bat an eye, but if I dropped my purse and exclaimed, “Jesus Christ, why do I always have to be so clumsy!” eyes would widen with surprise and nervous glances would be exchanged.
Like I go to bible study anymore. Shudder.
Here’s the thing: I don’t know what I believe about Jesus. Right now I simply have feelings and thoughts about him, not a rock solid message. This is a hard place for me. Jesus has always been my person. He’s been my friend, my god, the one who never left me when everyone else did. He’s heard my deepest pain and whispered words of comfort. Oh yes, I’ve heard the voice of god, but I’m still in a place of extreme shifting, sifting through what I’ve been taught by the church and what I now believe.
I know Jesus was a real person. His life has been historically documented and proven by other sources than the Bible. I know Jesus claimed to be the son of god, but so did Ceasar and a lot of other leaders back in the day. Being a ‘son of god’ was the ultimate political claim, it cemented your leadership. And Jesus bucked the political system, he didn’t raise an army, he didn’t conquer; he served and healed and submitted and died for those he loved. I might believe Jesus was divine. I think I probably do, but I’m not totally sure.
I don’t know if Jesus died in order to wash away my original sin. I don’t believe in original sin anymore. I believe in original blessing. We were created (evolved–yes–also hazy on when the conscious mind and thus, soul, came into play, but for me, there was god before the big bang and god in all the evolution that happened after) in god’s image. So, god is in all of us. I think we’re good. I think sin is turning away from this goodness. I think Jesus came to show us the way back to god, to ourselves, to divine goodness. I think Jesus’ life is the path to god. I think you can get to god in thousands of ways, but Jesus showed us the best way through his life and death.
But I don’t know if he’s actually the son of god or if it matters. I don’t know about this whole salvation thing. I don’t know if I want to think about people in terms of are they ‘in’ or ‘out’ anymore. I want to love people and I don’t know how the salvation idea fits into that. Just being honest.
I might not even believe in hell.
All these angsty thoughts simply because a fellow momma lost her cool and uttered an exasperated Jesus Christ!
It’s so fucking hard to be me these days.