Growing up, my grandfather used to say, “There are two things you don’t discuss in mixed company, the first is politics and the second is religion.” Over the course of my life, I must say that I’ve stuck to those two rules. I don’t believe that anyone really cares what my opinion is on either and frankly, I don’t care about yours. I’m not saying that to be mean, quite the contrary. I just think the world would be a better place if we all stopped trying to impose our belief systems on others. I say all this because I’m about to digress into my beliefs to tell a story but in telling that story, I am in no way trying to impose my beliefs on you but merely to entertain you for the brief time that you are here.
One thing you may or may not know about me is that in college I studied Greek and Roman mythology and almost minored in Classical Humanities. Although, with all the classes I took in it, I probably did. In my studies, mythology mirrored religion for me. They were all stories to help people explain what they couldn’t explain. My favorite of those stories being Pandora’s box. The short version of this story is that Pandora opens up a box (jar) that she forbidden to open by the gods. When she does, all the evils of the world pour out. She realizes what she’s done and closes it before anything else can come out. When she does this she locks one thing inside, hope.
I believe in angels. I was raised Catholic and I truly believe that God sends his angels or A angel to watch over us. My angel has his/her work cut out for her. The last decade… Let’s just say that if any guardian angel deserves a vacation, mine does.
The first time I realized I had a guardian angel, I was in college. It was a beautiful summer day in D.C. and I was on my way back to my apartment from getting my haircut. I was in my own little world and totally not paying attention to my surroundings. I was crossing K street and just as I was about to step off the median, I heard my name being called. Loud and just once. I immediately stopped and turned around. Just as I did, a Metro bus barreled down the road in front of me, so close I could feel the heat coming off of it. It had ran the red light and if I would have taken an extra step, I most definitely would have been hit. The funny thing was, when I turned around to see who had called me, no one was there. It was early morning on a Saturday and K street was deserted. The only person for a block in either direction was me, so who had called my name?
That was the day I began to have faith in what I could not see. The day before that if you would have asked me if I believed in God and all the teachings of twelve years of Catholic school. I would have responded with a “Meh”. That day, something changed and I would never be the same.
I would love to tell you I became devout and go to church every Sunday but I would be lying if I did. I really don’t go to church. not even on Holy Days of Obligation. The reason is, I don’t get anything out of it. God isn’t in that building to me nor in the people that sit the pew every week and then step outside and gossip, smoke, lie, steal and drink. I’m not saying I’m an angel because I’m not but I’m also not a hypocrite and I won’t congregate with them either. For me, God is out in the world. God was on that street corner with me that day. He was with me in the hospital when I died and He was with me all the times, I’ve been late and kept clear of accidents and other catastrophes.
Most recently, my life has been less than perfect. I’ve had my difficulties in almost every facet of my life of late and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to change for the better anytime soon. I wish I could wave a magic wand over it all and make it go back to normal but I know it’s not possible. There is a new “normal” now that I just have to accept. Not accepting it means that I will just live a miserable existence wishing and hoping for something that may never come to pass. Sometimes, I feel like giving up and throwing in the towel but I know I can’t. Knowing that I can’t, doesn’t change the desire to, it just means I have to keep plowing ahead.
As I go from job interview to job interview, driving all over the DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) I think about giving up and what is really the point to all of it. It was then on one of my lowest of days, I had the urge to turn on the radio and a familiar song came on.
I felt like it had been dedicated to me because at that point what I really needed was someone to tell me, Don’t Stop Believing and someone did.
There’s a lot I don’t know about this world, this life, the reason we’re here. Questions I’ll never have the answers to and honestly, some questions are better left unanswered. The one thing I do know, is that there is something out there, something more powerful than me that’s watching and unlocking hope.