Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My First Half Century Ends Tonight

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" It has been our pleasure to serve you in 2008! Thanks for your patronage!

Fifty years ago tonight, I was getting along very well with my mother. That's because I hadn't been born yet, but was growing and developing nicely in situ. Tonight when the gong sounds at midnight, I'll commence the second half century of my earthly sojourn. I'm going into it with accumulated wisdom ... a wonderful thing to have.

For the vast majority of my first 50 years I was a Christian. It was the religion I inherited from my parents, and their parents, and generations of ancestors, as far back as I've been able to chart.

In my case, the tight seam of Christianity began to give way easily at first. I married a lapsed Catholic boy and heard his mother, grandmother, aunts, and sisters all praying to the Blessed Mother. Everywhere I looked in those East Baltimore rowhouses, I found a statue, or a picture, or some weird icon, of the Blessed Mother (or St. Theresa -- She's in my dining room now).

The Protestant religion deep-sixed the Blessed Mother, so all I knew about her was that she gave birth in a stable and asked her kid to turn water into wine, and cried at his execution. I had no idea that people actually prayed to her.

I started praying to her myself. And that's when I learned that she was more than the mother of Jesus. She was the Mother of God. Which in my book makes her a Goddess.

Now, that there's a leap of logic. But what happened to me in 2004, after years of drifting toward polytheism, was a full-fledged conversion experience.


I stuck my feet in the spillway at Berkeley Springs State Park, and all of a sudden I was surrounded by deities, and faeries, and elemental spirits, and ... of course ... the Sacred Thunderbirds overhead. I could feel a thousand different sorts of divinity simultaneously. It wasn't a shabby moment. I changed, in the blink of an eye.

It is this celebration of the diversity of deity that underlies The Gods Are Bored, no matter how silly I become, no matter how cynical I seem at times, no matter how nasty I get about turnpikes and mega-grocery stores and No Child Left Behind legislation. The best impulses of humanity seek Greater Powers. Every culture, every individual, we all embrace or deny -- at least we think about -- the concept of deity. With that in mind, I believe that no culture's deity does not exist. No culture's deity is inferior to another's. If one culture has 300 deities and another has just one, well, so be it. All deities are holy and sacred and deserving of the coin flicked into the fountain, the prayer whispered into the pillow.

I'm Anne Johnson, about to turn 50, and I approve this message. Our operators are standing by to take your call. And thank you for visiting my page. You are very important to me. A blessed 2009!

16 comments:

Pom said...

Welcome to your second half. May it be as full of experiences, learning, and love as the first half has been and may your growth continue to shine in your face. Thank you for sharing it so selflessly with the rest of us.

Many blessings /|\

THE Michael said...

Anne, I got dragged across the fifty-yard line kicking and screaming three years ago, but that's OK, because eight years prior to that I ceased having birthdays at the ripe just fine age of 45. I've had eight 45th birthdays since, and I intend to have quite a few more.

Who in the hell can afford fifty friggin candles anyway?

sott'Eos said...

Happy birthday, Anne. Our Florida vultures have seemed especially active the last few days, and it seems that I've seen larger wingspans than usual. Do your vultures visit us in the winter?

yellowdog granny said...

ahh, the big 50....life is just beginning for you..
st. theresa.she's my patron saint..when i became a catholice i was 14 so when they told me to pick a saint name i picked peter...no dice..paul...no dice..finally father cornelias said 'your just yanking my chain aren't you?'...and i smiled and said yes, so he said now....pick a saint..and i said st. theresa the little flower of jesus...he just shook his head..
so i when i go to the little catholic gift shop here i always buy st. theresa medals and send them to my friends...i'll send you each one...happy new year my friend..

Mama Kelly said...

Happy Birthday Anne! May the next 50 years be blessed beyond measure

heydaya said...

Happy Birthday, Anne! I am such a fan of your blog here - your posts are so thought-provoking. I especially love this one.

I hope you get positively spoiled by your family today!

liminal-spaces said...

I've been enjoying your writing for a while now, and so its time to de-lurk and wish you an absolutely amazing and astonishing birthday (and many more to come)!

Thank you for all your wonderful words and thoughts, and for the courage to put them out where just *anyone* can read them.

Blessed Be!

Lavanah said...

Happy Birthday, Anne. May your ink never run out on you, and your words never fail. 50? You are only beginning your 2nd cycle of life. Enjoy!

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

Lovely post! Happy 50th to one of my favorite writers...

Servitor Lucem said...

Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday dear Anne,
Happy birthday to you.

50's not so bad. Really. I think. So far, it's been more or less OK for five years or so. I think. Maybe.
;-)

sageweb said...

Happy Birthday and Happy NEw Years!!

Maeve said...

Best wishes for 2009 for you and your family also :)

ZB said...

May the second half of your century be as great as the second half of a really good sandwich! Great blog.

Hillbilly Fairy said...

I didn't know your epiphany came from berkeley springs.... well it doesn't surprise me at all. i've been living here for the past 10 years, and am constantly amazed and my belief in all the greater powers ever deepened. of course, i've been 50 now for 3 years, so i am 3 years more wise than you, so maybe that's why. at any rate, happy birthday and may we all be blessed in 2009!

sabrinam82 said...

Birthday Blessings to you and welcome to the 50+ club! ( I joined about a year and a half ago, and so far things are pretty good . . .)

dmiley said...

I have gotten behind on my reading.

Happy Birthday and many more to come.

Blessings,
David