“Religion gets in the way of relationship,”
he said to me on that bench under the tree,
among other poignant phrases.
We didn’t see eye-to-eye
on most topics under the sun,
but this observation,
among many dancing memories,
stuck with me.
The echo resonates with a pang,
I cannot help it,
so a part of you is bound to stay
even though we parted ways so long ago.
You see, I’ve never been one
for clubs and clans and memberships,
but I’ve always longed for grace.
Faith, as I witnessed it in the hard pews
under the hot Georgian sun,
captured in loud Hallelujas and
shared over the sweetest corn there is,
implied an inner aestheticism,
promised an outer belonging,
offered a pure and contagious vibrancy.
Additionally, my fascination
— this love affair —
lies in the compelling wonder,
the powerful rhetoric along archetypal storylines,
those ancient revolutions,
these contemporary liberations.
The tensions are palpable,
the urgency is potent,
and I simply cannot resist.
This is the beautiful part.
The one people call ‘spirituality’,
thinking it would create the healthy distance
they need to stay independent
— free from accountability.
This is the part I am drawn to and sure about,
because it makes responsibility manageable,
“It fills this vessel with holes.
It is welcome in this place.”
However, here I am,
putting down “Roman Catholic”
on my tax form to the German state
so that my pennies get used
by the richest institution there is,
hopefully for those in need.
Here I am,
kneeling before the very same patriarchy
that has known to guilt-trip and chain
rather than educate, deliberate, act.
Here I am,
feeling strangled most of the time,
sighing severely at best,
definitely not telling from the mountain.
Here I am,
farther away from the Great I Am
than the universe has vast measures to spare.
This has become a lonely, empty space,
and don’t tell me it gets better
the closer I stand to the Vatican.
I tried, even from the inside, and singingly so.
So it is my conviction these days
that this is my time to go.
My time is so short anyway,
so why wait for better days?
This has been a long time coming.
This is so utterly definitive.
This is what must be done.
I’d rather put wine and bread on the table myself.
Unless you can offer an opposite narrative.
Try me, I dare you,
On my way to town hall.