Friday, July 29, 2011

Butterfly Wings

When I was a child my mother would read from the Bible at bedtime. It was a good thing to do. I remember asking, "But what if Jesus had sinned?" Because he didn't. This question was too weighty for my mother's simple faith, and after saying he just couldn't, she said that she supposed God would send another Son. Well, she was young.

Maybe my own son asked a similar question, "What if Jesus sinned." Maybe my reply was, "What if you grew butterfly wings and flew to the moon?" Y'see, it can't be done. We don't have the genes for it, and Jesus did not have the genes for sinning. He couldn't do it.

Next question is, what sort of moral virtue is there in not being able to sin? Answer is, it's not about morality, but one's nature. Being what you are is not a virtue, but a necessity. Jesus was different than we are. Not that he was a sort of mutant. We, of course, are the mutants, altered and degenerated by the Fall and by the inherited corruption of our spirits handed down from Adam.

What then was the difference between Jesus and the unfallen Adam? Well, a woman can and a man cannot bear children. Butterflies can and humans cannot have gossamer wings. It's not about good or bad. It's about the fundamental nature of things. There are men, and there are women, and there is Jesus. Adam and Jesus were both fully and perfectly human, both unspoiled in their spirits. Different though, in that one could, the other cannot, sin.

Sort of a major difference.

In this case though it's the similarities that matter more. Both can suffer.

There are very few people that I speak to about personal matters. But yesterday I started yammering about my gun-toting brother, and I said that I just wished I could forget these things. The reply was maybe to try to, you know, forgive. I said here recently that I hold a grudge. That's not quite the right word. It's that I can't forget, and I can't trust because of it, and wrapped up in there is the original pain and its concomitant anger. Forgive is a complex word -- its operative meaning here is, let go of the hard emotion.

When I was little, and vulnerable to the abuse and stupidity of my family, I vowed, fervently promised myself, that I would never ever ever forget such and such an event. This had the urgency of survival about it. I must never be in such and such a place again. I must never never trust them. Well, I am a faithful man, true to his convictions, and, indeed, to this very day I do not trust them. With a very few exceptions, I trust no one.

The problem is that I had to mutate myself to achieve this goal. It still feels like a necessary thing -- it's how I survived the madhouse. Now I'm not in the madhouse anymore, but I've carried its corruption with me out into the great wide world. I would forgive if I could, if I knew how, if I allowed myself that indulgence, if I had the courage. But I have to remember, and with memory comes the emotional ice and branding iron that outraged my soul in the first place.

Somehow, many years ago, I got a wife. If she ever really loved me, that ended, also, many years ago. How sad. By now I'm so strange, set in my ways, outside the bounds of normative socialized behavior, that it would take a figurative miracle, an act of positive grace from the Divinity, to redeem that part of my life. Trust trust trust. More precious than pearls and gold.

Willfulness, as of children, and adults, need not be a bad thing. It's a matter of loyalty. We just want to be on the right side. For my part, more unbearable than loss, is betrayal.

Am I yammering again? Sorry. I seem to think it's rude, to speak, out loud, too much about oneself. Is that another way I'm strange?


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