Godding

Today, I went to the 5:00 pm mass at St. Patrick's by myself. I felt compelled to go, not really knowing why. I've been thinking about Victor Villasenor's speech, especially the part where he talked about a conversation he had with a Hopi Indian. This man told Victor that he didn't believe in God; instead, he did God. They have no nouns in their language. Every word is a verb. It actually makes sense, since things are changing all the time. Everything is changing, and God is in everything; therefore, everything is godding. Earlier in the day, I was looking at things and thinking about how people believe that we are all God. And so I imagined (maybe even believed) that I was looking through God's eyes, just looking around. And then I thought of that scene in Waking Life where the two actors are talking about how film is simply a recording of God's manifestation. That everything is only one moment, now, and it is holy. So I'm looking around, thinking: these are God's eyes I'm looking through, everything's holy, and this is just one moment. I can't decide if it's a really long moment or short moment. It just is what it is. And it's all very confusing, and despite all the theology classes I've aced, the number of times I've been to church, the number of deep, religious conversations I've had and spiritual retreats I've attended, I don't think I'll ever grasp it. But that's okay. Because I can do this thing now where I just look, and think, or not think, and since it's just one moment, everything is pretty damn near peaceful and perfect.

So I went to church by myself hoping that the hour long session might give me some more insight into this complex thought I'm having. I look at the pews and know that they're Godding; their molecules are shifting, and they're physically eroding. I try to imagine how the pews are so scratched up. Little boys running their Hot Wheels up and down the seats; keys from pockets leaving their little indentations; women tapping their long fingernails on the wood. Is it even real wood? When did the Catholics decide: "We're going with pews!"

Nothing out of the ordinary happened. I sat in the far back corner by myself, my hands in my blue track jacket. An older woman, smelling of car air freshener, sat in front of me. Then the smell became graham crackers until I realized it was probably just cigarette smoke. The scent brought up old memories of preschool, my uncle Mike's car, my girlfriend's mom. Sometimes I wish I could just sit in a room and smell every smell I've ever smelled, good or bad. Some girls at Watsonville high smell like my cousin Grace did. I wonder if it's shampoo or perfume.

The priest told everyone that, contrary to popular belief, the church didn't have very much money. He referred to that part as his "sales pitch." I never carry cash, so I didn't have anything to give. Which reminds me, this man in Santa Cruz gave me a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita and asked for a donation. I couldn't give him anything, obviously, but he still let me keep the book.

Today is my cousin's birthday. He's 28; he's Godding. Meagan's grandpa died this week. He's Godding, too.

I don't know how to end essays, blog entries, poems or short stories. I guess I'm supposed to say something witty to pull myself out of it. I won't.

Leaving Complacency.

I've recently decided that I'm going to study to become a doctor. I'm 24 years old, and I expect to achieve my M.D. by the time I'm 32. I came to the conclusion that I would like to study medicine while eating a banana, strawberry, nutella, whip cream and walnut crepe in Santa Cruz across the street from the Rio Theater. I've never been good at science; I passed biology, chemistry, and physics in high school, but I never really understood what I was doing half the time. The other half the time I spent copying someone else's homework. I excelled at what came easy to me: English and theology. And then I took the easy way out again: I declared creative writing as my major at Seattle University. I took writing courses, wrote when I felt like it, and got nothing less than an A- in any of my English classes. It cost me $18,000 to do that, and it cost my mom almost triple that amount. Now, I'm not going to study medicine because I want to earn a lot of money as a doctor; no, I want to study it because I've never really studied anything. Not since 6th grade, at least. 6th grade social studies questions were brutal. They only required 2-3 sentences to answer them, but still, maybe it was the wording or the randomness of the questions; they were hard. I want to be challenged again. I don't want to just try to "get by," or even survive a class. I want to be able to say, "this is is challenging," and stay up until 4 in the morning until I finally get it.

Why do I want to challenge myself? Because, as Victor Villasenor pointed out last night, I need to "kick my own butt out of complacency." After graduating from Seattle University, the future "Georgetown of the West Coast," I took the lowest, laziest job possible. I worked for AmeriCorps. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, look under your sofa cushions to find the amount of money we volunteers make in a day. Again, I don't really care about the pay, or the lack of proper healthcare insurance. It's the lack of responsibility I was entrusted with that really hurt. I showed up at 8:30 or 9 (whatever my mood was), and one day, my coworker, Adam and I missed a team meeting to go see King Kong. We were gone for four hours while still on the clock. We tested our supervisors more and more everyday, awaiting disciplinary action like schoolchildren needing attention, and it never came. Adam eventually dropped out and I made the mistake of continuing on without him. I was paid, albeit not very much, to remain in a state of complacency. At the time, the 2 hour lunch breaks, the self-regulated half days were amusing in themselves, but, in retrospect, I wish I hadn't taken that cheap sabbatical.

Here I am now, in my second year of AmeriCorps. The bell has just rung. I'm off to Mr. Cramer's class, my own personal sitcom. He is David Brent and I am Tim. And, like The Office, all of this is almost hysterical, yet at the same time, utterly depressing. My pipe dream of becoming a doctor, of challenging myself to the point of endless debt and no return, is all that can keep me moving forward.