I don’t know how it is for kids not raised with religious fervor, but we spent a lot of time contemplating salvation when we were children. I could actually feel my soul. The heft of it. Later, I thought it must have been my heart I concentrated on, but in any case, what’s important is how much time I spent in reflection. It began with grass. I’d watch the grass, and the tiny bugs moving through it, and the earthworms. I’d imagine the molten core of the world. I’d imagine what it felt like for my body to be buried there. Laid out in a wood coffin like in a Western, with my gun and holster beside me for company. No. No, salvation, that’s what I’m supposed to be considering.
Then I’d imagine an altar. Kneeling there with my head bowed and a deity before me, hand outstretched, the moment before judgment. What is the weight of my soul? What will it buy me? In? Can I get in for this? I’d imagine Eden, getting hucked out for being curious. Disobedient, the deity corrects. Right. Yeah. Of course. Disobedient. And then, suddenly, I was thinking about the Greeks, about the Athenian slogan: I have thought for myself. (Not OF myself, FOR myself.) My soul is not currency. I won’t exchange it for anything.
I was practicing, wasn’t I? I was learning to be contemplative. To take my conscience seriously.
I wake every morning at 5. The light changes and I wake. And for a time, I think about marriage. I didn’t use to believe in marriage. Being married was being owned. You were little more than property. And maybe because I’m not allowed to be married to the person I love, or maybe because commitment doesn’t feel like ownership anymore, or maybe because Mary always feels like more not less, or maybe because the world is more various than I used to believe, I wake every morning and think about it. The weight of it. The power. Love is as close as I will ever get to god. My task is to do my best work. Not to let the business of living get in the way of my practice. To be devoted. It’s going to take the rest of my life. Like parenting. Love takes forever. Isn’t it funny how long it took me to realize that? The task of it. The endeavor.