Monday, April 23, 2007

Someone Will Be With You

Last week, the Catholic Church did away with limbo, that mysterious land for unbaptized babies. This was never a popular idea, even among the most devout and there was not a lot of fanfare when it went bye-bye. Now the term can be reserved for its truer meaning, all that is unchanging and unknowable in our own lives. Not quite heaven and not quite hell, I think of limbo like a doctor's office waiting room I frequented where a grandmother sat with her teenage grandson while he repeatedly fondled himself underneath his sweatpants while she told him, to "cut that nasty shit out." She read an old newspaper to kill the time, and I didn't have anything, an oversight to be sure. Time goes slowly in such circumstances, leaving you to think about all that is wrong with you. Waiting rooms, those small places before you receive your judgement, leave you with nowhere to look except straight ahead or at ancient magazines about parenting or staying healthy, crap that I couldn't stand reading, even in this dark hour. Someone will be with you shortly, a nurse called out.
I did not like my doctor at the time -- his bedside manner sucked, and he was forever asking questions like, Do you think about harming yourself? usually when I was there for a sinus infection. He loved pushing the Prozac, which I never accepted, although I did get a complimentary Prozac paperweight for listening to his spiel about the wonders of the drug. You won't feel good and you won't feel bad, he said. You'll just feel more balanced. No heaven, no hell, just gliding. Like limbo. I don't mind limbo as a rule -- there's a lot to learn from situations that have no easy solutions and that hold more wonder than you can imagine. There's something for being between worlds, in transition. But to live there forever with no hope, well, I'm with the Catholic Church on this one -- it's not an idea that I favor. My paperweight has long since been given away, but I imagine it's still out there in the world, holding things down in its own effortless way.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Geese love this shattered wheat too/ They will die for it." Raymond Carver
Cocktail Hour
Drinking short story collection suggestion: In Constant Flight Elizabeth Tallent
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!


Tony Soprano said...

Well, Michelle, my on the lam trip to Florida didn't work out too bad. Beensie had some nice family pictures of my dead dad, if you saw episode three yesterday. Judging from your photo, it's too bad we couldn't meet up down there! Just kidding. You know I'm a happily married man.
All the best,

Hamlet's father's ghost said...

I was stuck between heaven and hell, doing time for dying with sins on my soul. Only the revenge of my murder could set me free from Purgatory. My son's quest for my freedom was a living hell. Limbo would have been a pleasant pipe dream for him.

the walking man said...

I bet the grandmother insisted that the doctor give the teen ager a scripfor prozac or a tube of ky jelly for lube.

Being brought up catholic i never really grasped the concept of Limbo until a Muslim explained their belief od hell to me, which is that all will go to hell and stay there long enough to pay for their sins. A Good person just a little scorching then Paradise a bad one well they get charbroiled, I guess the Catholics have just taken the middle part out and it's either heaven or hell.

But you put limbo within the right framework for me now in a mortal sense, waiting for an appointment or a decision. waiting, waiting, waiting. Then the day arrives and then more waiting for results and another appointment. *sigh* just like the military saying .."Hurry up and wait"

But as you say there is a lot to be learned from situations that have no easy solutions. I guess adaptability is the end result once the solutions or conclusions are reached.

Forgo the Prozac and adapt to the limbo....if i could only bend my upper body low enough to get under the bar.


Robin said...

If it's not the body that goes to Hell, then what is it that gets charbroiled? And if heaven and hell are destinations after death, then wouldn't life itself just be a state of limbo, waiting and praying that God is in a good mood at the moment of one's death? Interesting post, Michelle.

the walking man said...

As my muslim friend exlained to me their belief that it is the spirit that burns but it is not physical fire a spiritual one. The crazy jihadist who blow themseelves up and are declared martyr's believe they get to pass go and get staight to paradise, still a spiritual place but with many pleasures awaiting them that get there, and as i said all get there eventually because of the mercy of Allah.

Tasslehoff Burrfoot said...

There's a lake that burns with sulfur and flame, to be sure (I sound like you when I type that), but it gets snuffed out in the last paragraphs of Revelation, along with all those that have been consigned to its flaying caress--including but not limited to, the beast, the false prophet, satan and his third of the stars in heaven, unrepentant sinners, those who grieve the Holy Spirit, etc.

While I'm certain He could, I don't think that God would devise a place of infinite torture. The very idea is anti-Christian--to my humble reckoning. Just a little bit of pain (comparatively little when opposed to eternal), and for those who meet its criteria. They knew what they were getting into. It's not like we're a bunch of ignorant heathens who've never ever heard the expression "the fear of God" in our entire lives. Besides, final judgement will be painful enough for many.

Great, thought provoking post. You make the Lord proud today, m. Purgatory truly is an earthly existence. I'm kind of in one or more right now (but extricating myself from a bunch of crushing limbos). You have your own purgatories to contend with, your many readers let us in on status reports about their very own modern purgatory points jutting up all over the modern landscape and how they relate to yours. Here's to keeping the chain unbroken, m.

Tasslehof, who wouldn't shut up said...

We nned higher authorities to comment on this!

TB said...

I meant need...

Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, they abolished limbo? Even the phrase "abolished" in association with Limbo is a bit surrealistic. I remember learning about limbo a very long time ago in the church. I'm amazed that they got rid of it. I'd not heard this. Thanks for the info.

Robin said...

Thanks, Walking Man. I do still wonder what kind of pleasure/pain one can have without a body. What would a spiritual fire look like? feel like? I can believe that we all end up with God/Allah/source energy in the end, whatever name we choose to call it, but martyrdom just doesn't make sense to me. I view most religious beliefs as more or less propaganda, though, very far removed from the teachings and intentions of the masters they are supposedly built on.

Michelle's Spell said...

Thanks for all the thoughtful comments -- I don't believe in the fire and brimstone hell or the streets of gold heaven -- I'm more of a heaven and hell in your own mind person. I like them as ways of viewing the world, especially limbo, since I'm pretty good at that!

the walking man said...

The truest form of spiritual pain is being separated from God. As to the fire I believe that is what it means. In my heart it would be better to burn to death and be no more than to have God turn his back on me.

Heaven well...I am not a streets of gold kind of person either but I believe that it is and it is God's home when he is not roaming about.

When you make it, become an eternal creature so to speak. As one erudite poster already mentioned wiped out or consigned to the eternal hell, are those that rebelled against God...That 1/3 position remains vacant and is (as the Christian text puts it) to be your crown.

In other words you become Not an angel of light but a spirit of light,God is a spirit and we are made spiritually after his own image remember? (Angels are spirits as well but not made after the image of God.) You can make whatever kind of heaven suits your desire since with light comes the ability to make something from nothing or CREATE.

Lucifer had this ability but wanted God's creation when God wouldn't give it over Lucifer snuffed out the light thinking, I believe this would end everything including God, but all it did was take away the most formidable portion of his own, leaving him basically with the ability to deceive man into thinking he still had power over them.. Ergo as is written in the Torah"...And God said let their be light."

God himself took on the ability He had given Lucifer and still holds it(LIGHT) to this day, and looks for the right moment to deliver that ability to the sons and daughters of God, them who are his children. Be they whatever religious persuasion in this mortal life. It is the goodness that a spirit of men will be judged upon.

As for the eternal fire I believe that those that are human who are truly evil and there are some and have been since Cain slew Able, they get pitched into the darkness of separation from God and become as if they had never been.

But since it is not possible to kill a creature once eternal there has to be a "jail" for Satan and his third, the former first creations of God. I personally believe this is where they will be for all eternity and the only food they will have to eat is from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and forever more they will know the pain of being separated from the true power of love, because it says again in the Christian text one who knows That Spirit then turns his back on it is no better than a dog eating its own vomit.

and this concludes today's sermon on the blog...their will be no collection plates passed and the only community announcement is The Walking Man has begun posting again on his blog in this space. Now get out of this church and go have some fun, dance and be merry.


Laura said...

I thought limbo was abolished a long time ago. I never did believe that an all loving God could not allow babies souls in heaven just because their parents didn't get them baptized. After all, where's the justice in that?

rush said...

all you damned libs are going to hell. especially you, hillary

Susan Miller said...

I like limbo. I'm keeping it.