Me and God.
I feel like I get pigeon holed often times by people that hardly know me. I have grappled with it all my life and sometimes it bothers me and and sometimes it does not. It's interesting though, the things that resurface time and time again and I want to dig in to try to understand why. (This could be a 47 piece series of why I feel like a misfit, but I just wanna start with God.)
Contrary to what people may think, I am an extremely private person. When it comes to my personal life, I do not post, tweet or shout about the things that go on in my life very often. If you are one of my very few but fiercely close friends, then you will know what is going on but the rest of the world will not. I have worked tirelessly at perfecting the art of deflection. As a bartender for over 15 years I was a master at keeping the conversation from ever turning back on me and most often people had no idea. They thought they were getting to know me, when in reality they were just going on about themselves. It's not a bad thing, I love to listen to people, and am truly fascinated by the things that bring others joy and pain, I just am very intentional about the people that I invite in close.
When it comes to religion and politics, people assume they know what I am all about, however almost no one ever asks, therefore I have to believe that almost no one really knows. I am complex with my beliefs but they are rooted deeply in my optimistic view of the world. I do not live in fear of very much, I believe when it is my time it's my time. Meanwhile, I want to be proud of the person that I am both publicly and privately.
I was raised catholic and went to a catholic grade school, it was a beautiful thing and I have wonderful memories of both. I was also a super strong personality right out of the gate so I provoked authority at every turn and that was the beginning of being branded "a handful" to put it nicely. I questioned everything and understood facts and rational reasons way before blind faith. I am not sure where that came from, my parents were nothing like that, although I think my father bucked the system in his own ways. It is amazing how things follow a person for their whole life, I have been called confrontational many times, I do not enjoy a fight but I will have one if need be.
I started swearing in grade school if you can believe it, and I wasn't the only one, I don't think we could blame TV or MTV or Atari, it was just a thing we all did and that was us asserting our elementary school aged power. Sometimes I think it was just a way of fighting the status quo, of trying to be a loud voice when we were always told to be quiet. Maybe because religion was forced upon us or the fact that some things just made no sense, just seemed repressed and silenced. Since I have diagnosed myself with being oppositional defiant, I have always challenged things, especially if it is black and white (my poor father), I find comfort in the grey areas.
As an adult I do have a relationship with God, it is quiet and private and is no one else's business. I have grown leery of people that need every good deed they do to be seen, witnessed, and videoed whether on social media or in church, and to me it lessens the beauty of it. I feel it is those same people that have to bring God into every conversation, which is fine, if your actions align with those words. Often times the same people that talk God to (or at) me are the same ones who believe that God,s love is only for a select few. I do not believe that nor do I believe that God teaches that. Only I need to know about the good deeds I have done, it brings me peace to know that I would help people less fortunate than myself. It makes me feel closer to God and helps me to sleep at night in a world with a shit ton of horrible people doing and saying horrible things.
It interests me to no end though, when I meet someone and talk to them momentarily and then they "gift" me a bible. That seems beyond presumptuous and I never really understand what it is about. This fascinates me even more when I tell you this has happened like 6 times in my life and these are from practical strangers. I want to start a little shelf of bibles given to me by strangers. The most recent was a gift left for me in my print shop from a very nice man I went on a blind date date with. A friend told me he knew this guy... I knew within seconds of meeting him that there was no connection, however he was kind and friendly so I decided I would go along for a beer and a burger with him anyways. He was a bit older than me and we talked and laughed then he told me quite a bit of personal information (I did not ask) and while I awkwardly slammed my beer I listened, again, the conversation barely came back to me so I said I need to get going. I shook his hand when we got back to the shop and told him it was "nice meeting you" and see ya round.
I thought that exit seemed pretty clear, but I'm no good at this so perhaps not. A few days later I got a message from him that he was going to be in town and would be stopping by with "something for me". SHIT! I knew I should not have told him where my shop is, rookie mistake. Well I went to the shop the next day and there on the table was a wrapped gift. Oh Hell YEAH, I thought as I walked over and took it out of the bag. I could feel the weight of the gift and like a sixth sense I know what it was. This feels like a bible. I mean that is how many bibles I have been given, I can actually guesstimate the weight in my hand! Meanwhile I look at the card, and there it is, his name, this guy I spent exactly an hour with.
Does everyone think I need saving? Why would people assume that I do not already have a bible? Would someone give me this in the hopes that I would read it? Do people of other religions do this? Does it all come back to the fact that I swear? Do words really speak louder than actions? This cannot be, I am a good person, I take care of people, look out for the underdog, I feel deeply and stand up for what I believe. I think It is so interesting because I do not know anyone else who gets bibles from strangers on the regular. I guess I may never really need to understand this, I will continue to ponder it and try not to make it about me and my guilt complex. I am vexed to say the least but it makes for a pretty funny story, and it's classic Bruno, please do not go out and buy me a bible, I have plenty and I'm a minimalist anyways.