Thursday, August 14, 2008

My House Burned Down

Some bad news from this side of the world. My house burned down. Yup. Kinda sucks to be balls-out, everything one owns either gone or charred beyond retention. So, it's time to introduce my very own patron saint, St. Mildred. Here's an official prayer for her:

O loving Lord, the source of all joy and goodness, we praise you for the life and example of our patron, Mildred of Thanet, who preached the Christian faith in pagan times and we pray that, as the radiance of your love was seen in her faith, her devotion and her good works, so we, in this unbelieving generation, may show forth practical love, generous compassion, and joyful faith. We ask this for your name's sake. Amen.

Yup, sounds about right. A little vague as to what those good works were exactly, but I guess that's covered in the section of the Catholic Church manual on how to be a good'un or something. I like the concept of generous compassion and practical love. Lots of give and take there.

What I found out about her is certainly some substance for a lengthy, if possibly very boring, historical novel. She was born into nobility around 650 or so, her mother was a princess in Kent and ultimately a saint herself, and St. Mildred went to school at a convent near Paris. A dude pursued her but she brushed him off, instead choosing the staid life of service to the poor and rejected. So, fill, fill . . . and you've got a NYT bestseller.

I know someone who is very much like St. Millie and very devoted to all that religion stuff I hold in such low regard. But she believes and I can't fault that. I might want to argue it, but it's only an intellectual discussion and no amount of grey matter can obscure faith. In other words, rationality is no match for the seemingly irrational, because people who hold a belief will likely hold on to that no matter what "truths" are brought to bear.

There is a comfort in faith that is akin to love, either romantic or platonic. It means never having to doubt the silent presence that is your given calling. It means having to say that you're sorry for not fulfilling all that your "significant other" expects but that said beacon is your beacon alone and will forgive you and allow you to improve, try again, possibly fail but will still love you, and your failures until, one day, you finally do make it.

Apparently, though, the true believers can't fault the object of their devotion as that would be blasphemous. Never question the Word. Well, folks, this is why I'm not a Christian, Catholic, Hindu or Muslim. If the answer's in there, don't make me pretend to be stupid when I can ask a question. You're free to be a lemming if you want but that doesn't mean I'm wrong for not wanting to dive off the cliff with you.

I respect your right to believe what you want. In fact, I'll defend it as I would my own right to believe that there is no God, well, at least, not in the bearded-guy-that looks-like-that-guy-from-Metallica sense, anyway. And you simply have to respect my position. Don't proselytize - it offends me. It's not like I haven't thought about it, you know. I majored in that crap in college. Gonna bring it up? Fine. Expect an argument, not a nasty one, but an intelligent one and an unapologetic one at that.

In the meantime, if I have to choose an entity to worship, it will have to be St. Mildred, only, the modern day version, since it's a lot harder, especially with Infidels like me around, to really, truly believe and you know, I kinda like that.