Today my dad and I talked about Jesus. And the best part was it was with complete irreverence, in fact the conversation started out guessing how much pot he smoked.
We both went on to agree the sandaled man was probably a pretty cool guy that would be good company to shoot the shit with, probably not the best cook in the world but a great fishing buddy nonetheless.
We also agreed that he was the biggest Buddhist of them all. It got me thinking about all of those little wafers that would get stuck to the roof of my mouth every Sunday at 8:50 am. If Jesus was a Buddhist, why did I ever have to go to Church? I began to calculate the number of precious hours spent standing, sitting, kneeling, standing, mouthing.
I do remember being excited when I turned eight and was officially old enough to consume a piece of another human, (“no, it’s not a metaphor or symbol, it is actually Jesus,” so said my no-nonsense 2nd grade religion teacher) but then it got old and the whole process became quickly irritating to my young plaid-skirted self.
This flood of memory led me to thinking about rituals. And habits. And routines. There are things I do every day simply because it is more comfortable to rather than not. Except when it isn’t. The problem for me comes when I try to break the habit and find it to be extremely unsettling. It’s like a visceral “oh shit something is different” reaction in my mental body. Though I am a believer in healthy routines and thrive under structure, there is something to be said for spontaneity, for an eight year old sleeping in on a Sunday, eating jelly beans and chocolate milk for breakfast and not feeling like she is going to hell for skipping church. And there is also something to be said for a twenty-three year old to take a step back and outside the lines and try to come to terms sooner rather than later that life doesn’t have to be so serious. Just look at Jesus, he picked drinking wine over water, and the man lived in the desert.
So, I’ve decided when I feel the need to challenge myself to break routine, I’m going to try to think of my pal Jesus. Not as I use to know him: as a religious figure and the guy who would one day tell me he saw all of my “oh shit” moments and kept count on an ethereal chalkboard. But rather an old friend I know I could call up for a little shift in perspective.
Maybe it is a good thing I spent all those years scraping Jesus off of the roof of my mouth. I’ve since grown rather fond of the guy.