Wed 22 Feb 2006
Before I get to the long-winded part of this post, Liz led me to this Sacred Spaces ten-minute interactive prayer site. I’ve gone through it a few times (it changes every day) and have found it lovely. Those Jesuits! Gotta love em.
Sometimes people ask me what it feels like to be a Christian. If they ask at lunchtime I am inclined to say “Hungry,” especially if they are eating some deliciousness containing avocado and bacon, and I am eating the one un-mushed corner of a peanut butter and honey sandwich that got mangled in the bottom of my purse. Then I eye their deliciousness and sigh heavily.
Other times I say “Mork from Ork.” He looks like a regular human apart from the bad fashion, and most of the time in casual interactions nobody notices anything different about him. Even if he tells someone straight out that he’s a citizen of another planet, they laugh and let it pass because they assume it’s not so, or that he’s being metaphorical. Anyone who spends enough time with Mork, though, learns that he can drink through his finger and sit comfortably on his head and communicate with his boss via telepathy: “Mork calling Orson, come in Orson.” He spends a lot of time feeling out of place and unsure of why people do what they do. He’s doubly an outsider: not human, yet banned from Ork for due to his human-like qualities.
Though I can’t drink through my finger, I have got bad fashion and enjoy sitting upside down on occasion, especially with some light reading, say the funny anecdote section of a Reader’s Digest. Most people don’t care whether I am a Christian, so long as I don’t take up more than my share of space on public transportation and wash my hands before leaving a restroom. Even if I announce it, they are likely to pat me on the shoulder and say, “Isn’t that nice.” (It seems that most people in this country are Christians of one stripe or another, though, strangely, in my current set-up, almost nobody I see regularly identifies themselves as such. )
The two ways I really identify with Mork are his outsiderness and his special powers. As I move through my ordinary day I am aware that there is another presence in me and in the world around me. I want to describe it as another layer, but that wouldn’t be right, because Jesus is all mixed up in it. I feel warmth or an ache in my chest when Jesus wants me to pay special attention to something. I start praying and looking around, really noticing. (I am really happy when Jesus wants me to notice chocolate candies in the break room.) Sometimes I will feel an almost physical nudge– to speak to this person, pray for that situation, give something or act in some way. Sometimes an overpowering sensation of love will sweep over me and I will have to stop what I am doing and start crying. Those swept away times are rare.
I can sometimes go days or weeks without that warmth or nudge. Mostly what I get on a daily basis is mental nudging. When I start complaining about a boss or some nasty cookies, there’s a gentle nudge reminding me to shut up. Or if I don’t shut up, I get nudged later reminding me to apologize or in some other way rectify the situation. When my thoughts start down certain paths, I get nudged out of them most of the time.
All this warmth and love and nudging doesn’t make me an obviously better person than those around me, but I think it does make me better than I would be without it. I love saying “Mork calling Orson, come in Orson” when bad or good or puzzling things happen; my automatic response is to turn to Jesus with it, whether to yell or complain or ask for help or collapse. Jesus and his pop don’t mind having Orson for a nickname I don’t think. They answer to it, which is a good enough sign for me.
So on the one hand I got the SECRET POWERS to change myself and the world. Which is pretty fun most days (except I don’t like getting nudged out of bed on work days). On the other hand, it gets a little loney because the other peeps don’t got the secret powers yet. I get a little too Morky for my non-Morky friends at times, and too non-Morky for my church people at other times; but this whole dang planet is just not Morky enough for me! When’s it gonna Mork out, I ask you? We should all be rescuing raw eggs and sleeping in the closets!