The Great Spirit and Almighty God had only one thing in common, they both scared the shit out of me.
The Great Spirit was able to assimilate your soul, with no notice, and “acquire” you to be part of Him. Huh? Was He kidding? Would He put me back? Had we met? I think I would have remembered meeting someone who could absorb me like a giant sheet of Bounty.
As far as the Almighty went, He too, could pluck you from this earth but He’d make me suffer first. Eternal damnation if my room wasn’t clean or if I had impure thoughts. I was in trouble. According to the nuns I was a daily offender in the venial realm. Mortal sins ran an average of once a week. There was the whole promise of heaven but I was assured early on it would be an uphill battle for the likes of me. I first learned of my dilemma from Sister Judith, a bitter, mean spirited woman who was convinced that flash bulbs gave her skin cancer. I found it hard to believe anyone had ever taken a picture of that puss, let alone to the point of melanoma. Sister Judith hated me. She had felt it necessary to isolate me to the lunchroom, a damp, mildew ridden, windowless basement. I was never allowed to eat in the lunchroom, but spent many hours being punished there. Sr. Judith knew I hated being alone; it was her only advantage.
When lunch did come I then was moved to the library to eat alone because as a sinful glutton, I should not be exposed to the other children for fear they will pick up this deadly sin. Charlie Manson did more socializing than I did. That was when my Grandfather told me the Catholics had it all wrong. He assured me I didn’t have to take any more abuse from old Sister Judith. He said I had nothing to fear.
Well, nothing but the Great Spirit.
I began filling out recruitment forms, Army, Navy, any where I could.... Judith A. Sister. Gym memberships. Judith A. Sister. Plastic light up lawn Santa’s complete with reindeer, edible underwear for a XXX company I found in the back of Wally Leonard’s playboy magazine, a lawn minora, C.O.D. of course. All sent to Judith A. Sister.
My recently divorced parents felt Catholic school would be a kinder environment for a kid like me if I would just stop challenging everyone. Why did I ask so many questions? Was it possible for me to go to school one day and not get a note home describing my blasphemy du jour? Apparently not. Adam and Eve my ass. We got National Geographic. How did they expect to hide evolution from us? Sister Judith always suspected, but could never prove, my involvement in her torture, and, no one believed her involvement in mine.
She was eventually sent to the nun glue factory. They were all located in Pennsylvania, I suspected.
I then had to either accept my fate as an unwelcome Catholic or meet with the Great Spirit people. I met my Grandfathers medicine man once. He was a large, dark, angry looking man, who arrived when my Grandfather was sick, in a huge green Cadillac. The Indians were not a jolly bunch, by any means. He had grabbed my face and said, ”hmm, you’re one with a gift”. I don’t remember receiving a gift, not later in the mail either. He must have forgotten. My Grandmother told me that of course he forgot, the Indians were all drunks. If I remember correctly the Irish did just fine in that department.
When I asked my Grandfather about the Great Spirit, he took me to his garden and had me pick green beans. Before I picked them I had to thank each one of the beans. They never responded and I never understood how that helped anyone but my Grandfather. When my Grandfather started to get sick and speak more often about joining the Great Spirit he made it sound as if it were an elite country club that would not have tolerated his kind while alive. He probably could have shined shoes or carried golf clubs but only dream of membership. The Great Spirit would never reject him the way the living world did or would He? I didn’t know. My Grandmother said he was to enjoy a eternal life of fire and brimstone. That was the only after life for the heathens. That did not appeal to me. I avoided August, hell was no place for me. It was the Catholics who had eternal life in paradise. Paradise? Now that has possibilities.
I started to develop my own idea of this paradise. There would be Twinkies and Kool-Aide. I was in. So I started to pray. I prayed for a Koala Bear. No answer. I prayed for Sonny and Cher to reunite. No luck. I prayed for Elton John to come find my yet undiscovered talents. No calls. I prayed for Leif Garrett to be my boyfriend. Nada. I prayed to be thin. I prayed to be pretty. I prayed for a puppy, a hamster, an easy bake oven. No. No. No.
I’m going back to the Indians.
All of this back and forth seemed to increase my odds of ending up in “limbo”. This, according to my Grandmother, is where you remained forever with no chance of heaven but you didn’t fry in hell. Well, that’s not too bad. Boring, but I was quite sure I wouldn’t be alone. I started to make a mental list of my house mates at hotel limbo.
Eddie Kascak would be there for sure. He melted all my Barbies which isn’t a mortal sin but it was close. I decided that if it was going to spend eternity with Eddie we should practice getting along. Currently a five minute car ride would result in a fight. I discussed “our” dilemma with Edward who said his years as an alter boy would be his exemption from limbo. Then he gave me the finger.
I had decided that I didn’t care if I lived in limbo. I could make friends. Although any image of limbo brought about an instant anxiety I have yet to shake. It would be alright. I was no longer concerned. Really. The definition of limbo is an uncertain period of waiting. I now see limbo like waiting for the cable guy or calling motor vehicle. Unpleasant but usually not without some entertainment value.
I have never bought into the idea of a divine being. Genetic cynicism. A deity with the skill to micro manage his minions, or the desire to so? Why? Wouldn't it be easier if "He" just made me less of a mess? You would think that would save us both tons of time. My requirement for a more fluid definition of sin and repentance has allowed for a hybrid of sorts, a philosophical mutation. I would like to think that the energy I posses while alive somehow joins the accumulated energy of all life before me but what do I know? I hope that more because I am afraid one of my grandparents may be right. Its similar to being an organ donor only to find out you still need all your stuff after the fact. What if my irreverent attitude and clear law breaking of both moral perimeters will force me into a state of eternal damnation or endless period of waiting? Or worse, an eternity with one of my grandparents?
I have thought to capitalize on my experience with both religions, since I’ll be in hell anyway. If I were ambitious, I would open a casino/halfway house for pedophile priests and bus loads of old ladies. It's a thought.