Chapter 2 brings us to some of Pete’s favorite words, ‘To believe is human, to doubt divine”. As in much of Pete’s prior work, and a good chunk of the rest of Insurrection, we are brought to the point in Christ’s crucifixion where Jesus loses God.
Jesus, hanging bloody on the cross, cries out to God, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?”. Pete aligns this moment with the moment that Christ himself experiences doubt; possibly even a/theistic doubt. We are shown throughout his work that a key element in discovering what is beyond Christianity, as we know it, is to seek this point in our own journey. Our own moment of ‘Why has God forsaken me?”.
I could go many directions with my reflection on this chapter, because I certainly felt that cry of Christ deep inside me within the months following my husband’s death. As the days continue, however, I have been drawn to this idea in a more concrete way of living on this Earth. When my husband was alive I felt a deep sense of comfort in life. I shopped without the conscious notion of who was being extorted in order to fulfill my consumerist greed at such a low price. I ate food without the haunting thoughts of what chemicals lay just below the surface of my food. I drank milk without the fear of becoming immune to antibiotics. I bought chocolate as though I was in favor of child slavery, and yet, I was completely unaware of the cost some children pay for us to eat such foods.
My husband had a ease about living, an ease of life that I was attracted to. I was attracted to this partly due to the fact that I am not that way. At the time I met him I was exhausted from the amount of worry I had put myself through. I could no longer take the anxiety that weighed me down so heavily; anxieties not of the world, but of my own failings. In losing the tension I held in my life, I lost something more than that. I failed to pull back the curtain, and see the world around me for what it actually was. Life is not what we see on TV, not on the news, and not in the movies. Those things we see and hear are filled with propaganda sold by corporations in order to make money. It is fueled, motivated, and moved forward by sheer greed, and nothing more.
For me to believe in a life that existed free of worry, anxiety, pain, and suffering was easy. I would look to my carefree husband; I would follow his lead. Years went by, and I began to believe what I saw on ‘Real Housewives of New York City’, what I read in US magazine was somehow real life. That what I was seeing could somehow be connected to my life, but there was no connection here – not for me, or for anyone else I have ever known.
The hard part for me is doubting on a level at which my sanity can remain in tact. I must remember each day that there is tension in this life. I must remove those things unimportant to God’s creation. I must care about the Earth, and take part in making a difference. I must remember my children will live longer than me, and teaching them now is imperative to the world’s well being. I must meet felt needs of the poor and hungry, and not satisfy my own self desire to be ‘good’ by throwing some change at a charity of my choice.
And then . . . I must remember that I will not always do these things well. I will mess up, and at times I must live in a place where life is full of suffering. I must live in the tension of the Earth’s fallen ground. I must find grace there. I must also live outside the suffering, and partake in God’s great creation for us. I must drink and eat with family and friends. I must live life to the fullest, enjoying the gifts He has given to us.
The cry of Christ is deep, is painful, and it can remind us why we too must doubt as He did. There is a thing as too much security. Too much security, in a fallen world, could point to a curtain you have failed to peek behind lately. My hope for you is that you will.