Become a Follower of the Big Dude!

Meet the divine Dude in this blog. This Dude has had and seen his share of sacred shit. He's not afraid of it or of its language. I can't relate to a god that's been crucified, but I can relate to one whom my government has imprisoned and humiliated. I can relate to one who's been raped by his own holy men. I can relate to one who grew up playing baseball or soccer and who dated the Prom Queen. I can relate to the god who knows the working of corporate conglomerates, pimps, and teen-age girls who are pregnant. I can relate to the god who loves alcoholics and drug addicts just a tad more than wall street hotshots. This Dude thinks all of us are mortal particles in an ocean of sacred shit. This Dude recycles.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Our Fathers

Father is a word fraught with political and spiritual peril. For most of human history, patriarchal cultures idolized the term. We spoke of God the Father, Zeus (the father of all gods), forefathers, Father Time. Civil and human property passed through the father's line (with some exceptions in the Judaic tradition). Women were owned by their fathers and then their husbands. We, feminists of old, fought hard to contain the powers of the patriarchy. To a large extent, we were successful.

So, perhaps we need to move away from the word "father" and move towards Dad. Dad is an intimate term, generally a loving one. It means the man who raised me. It includes step-dads, today's absent dads, caretaker dads, and sometimes biological dads. While "father" is more of a political and spiritual concept, "dad" is a title we choose to bestow. How moving it is when a child calls this man who tosses him in the air and sometimes changes his diaper, da-da! How special it is when a son-in-law stops calling his father-in-law Mr. So and So and one day calls him "dad." Dad is an earned name, a name given by not just a family, but by each individual in the family.

Father is a concept. Dad is a choice. I remember when one of my sons was angry with his dad and spent three month refusing to call himself by his dad's surname. He wasn't rejecting the concept of father; he was temporarily rejecting his dad.

With that said, I had a good dad. He loved and nurtured me. He taught me survival skills and how to navigate the larger world. He also taught me to clean a kitchen and mow a lawn. He was the one who noticed my feelings and had the perfect words to comfort me. When I was in high school, I was taller than the boys and came home from a dance crying because no one danced with me. My dad listened and then put his hand on my knee. He said quietly, "I like my women tall." Another time, it was the first Christmas after my divorce. My children were with their dad. My dad called and, hearing the tears in my voice, said, "What's wrong?" I told him and he invited me to jump in the car and come home for Christmas. I told him that I was too upset. He paused and said, "Yes, you always were a bit of a wolf. Even as a little girl, you would go off by yourself and lick your wounds." That feedback helped me put my experience in a life-long context.

So, here's to Dads. I like to think that the divine spark is more dad than father. Roxie

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Vessel of Clay

It's amazing to think that this human frame can serve as a chalice for the divine inspiration that transcends time as well as the numbness that fritters away our human days.

Case in point. Last weekend, I was at the northern Atlantic sitting on jagged rocks and watching powerful, rhythmic waves wash over them. At the edge of my consciousness were the foghorn from Portland headlight and the sounds of sea birds. Watching the ocean come and go, I felt in tune with the heartbeat of the universe. I felt serene bliss. God.

The next day I went to a casino and played slot machines. Divine inspiration and frittering numbness. Both within this vessel of clay we call human life.

The voice of our humanity speaks loudly, calling us to both extremes of our reality. That voice asks us to love the gambler and sloth in ourselves as much as we love the poet and the god. They are different faces of the same child. In loving all of ourselves and the tension between our extremes, we grow into our wisdom and maybe our divinity.