Just the day after Christmas and still full of good cheer (the non-alcohol type) I was reflecting on Christmas Past and how I was raised. Many good memories because my Fundamentalist Regular Baptist parents tired real hard to make their version of reality a pleasant one for my sister and me. They wanted the birth of God the Father as God the Son, through the unction of the Holy Ghost a memorable time of "tidings of wonder and Joy" to be truly that. Most Christmas's were just that. Lots of excitement, the tree, the accumulation of presents, the snow, the sledding, Christmas vacation and everyone trying to be...nice.
But the underlying story line is where the Grinch lives. Where Scrooge (before his conversion experience) in perpetual frumpery dwells. Aside from the wonder of being born again and God's love and pie in the sky by and by, there was also the need for a Savior to be born. We the people are helpless concerning salvation, death and taxes. One day out of the year (maybe two if one counts Easter) all was love and joy and good cheer. The other days were full of Original Sin. You know, the reason for the season is that one is damned from the sperm meeting the ovum, through no choice of ones own and maybe, just maybe, God might send the Holy Ghost to grace one with the knowledge of Jesus Christ and just what a little shit you have always been and always will be til death or the Final Trump is sounded.
Helluva way to grow up.
Then survive to perpetuate the malarkey.
The verses drummed into my head from earliest memory are (of course) Romans 3:23, Jeremiah 17:9 (as part of AWANA I memorized hundreds of verses by 14 and had read the Bible through at least twice; KJV) and the whole of stinking chapter Isaiah 53 (required reading before communion) and numerous others that proved how horrible one is and there is not a damn thing one can do about it!. As an adult, the hooks were planted deeply, so escape was highly improbable and one was found trapped when encountering other religions, ideas and (gasp) scientific methodology. Once the emotional/reward hooks are planted, it takes just one song and "with all my sins before me" back one tumbles to the altar to start the whole cycle over again.
It gets exhausting.
So I sit here the day after Christmas reflecting on how wonderful it is that I can enjoy the show, exchange gifts with friends, chat amicably with total strangers and realize that belief in a Horrible, Bloodthirsty, Genocidal deity (let's not forget "Jealous"!) is not required in order to celebrate a season where-in our ancestors marked out for millennia as a time of hope for the coming spring.
But the bugger of Not Good Enough still lingers. I am loved and respected where I am employed. My partner loves me, my cat greets me at the door, my friends still want to spend time with me and yet..."late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers knocking at my door...". Such visitations, purely in my imagination, are a cause of anxiety. I live with a bit of anxiety most days. No longer in fear of sins I have committed and sins not yet committed but probably will. No fear of an angry God holding me over a fire as a man holds a spider over a fire nor rejecting the blood sacrifice and ensuing confusion of which aspect of the deity is doing the dirty work, the suffering and the final redemption, no longer that bugaboo. Yet with my brain wired to fear an implacable deity (or destiny if one suffered under the karma hooey as well), that finds no satisfaction in It's creation, what my brain recognizes is the uncertainty of what happens next. Usually meant to be bad, if not very bad. If I give 'it' my all will my all be good enough to eat around the campfire and share the spoils of life or will I be assigned to "outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth"? According to standard Christian doctrine the answer is a granitic "NO! Never!".
It is easy to find my fault in any issue that requires that someone must have done something wrong. So easy, in fact, that it is almost narcissistic in its presentation and reception. "Everyone look at me! My bad, my bad." I can still make it all my fault just by being in the room. Sometimes it is so (in recovery from alcohol and religion we are taught to be honest in our appraisal of our deeds under the influence) quick I don't realize until words and actions flow that I am in the middle of the addiction (again). Other days I can see it sneaking through the shadows to "cough when I would kiss".
Now it is out. Rough, uncut, uncertain and as the rain falls gently outside, full of the melancholy of one in recovery. I remember the words of Bill Nye the Science Guy when he was commenting on the evolutionary process being "good enough". My life is good enough, all that I have recognized, used and forgotten, is good enough. Though the perception of the world from a Bronze/Iron Age people group is fascinating and its perpetual message of Not Good Enough is still be taught and believed across the land, today I can be at relative peace that I am good enough and when how I live and how I think are no longer sufficient, then it will be time to do something else that is and will be good enough.