A lady walked past me today and said “Jesus loves you”, right at my face. She had the biggest smile, and radiated pure warmth and openness. It was then that I noticed the giant wooden cross sticking out of the trolley she was pushing, that I hadn’t seen before.
Normally I would run a mile from this kind of thing, cursing and feeling fucked off someone had made me jump, and/or invaded my privacy. “Keep your beliefs to your own fucking bench.” But also because those peeps preaching Jesus on the street tend to be – or appear to be – somewhat crazy, so it pushes my trigger buttons, I ended up flooded with judgement, anger, and overwhelming fear, and I leg it. But this was different. She was so warm and genuine that it almost made me stop in my tracks. She really fucking meant it. I walked up the road mega grinning, partly because her act was so blatantly meant and kind, but also because her openness and sharing of her beliefs ticked all my boxes that have been open lately about how love really is all we need.
Love soothes anxiety, fear, trauma, physical pain and aches, isolation, desperation…the feeling and/or the act of receiving (and giving) love is like what a giant dose of Prozac does in the eyes of a doctor. Sure we need to eat and breathe and do things but in terms of healing, I have just been so aware of how love conquers all…the symptoms, the fears, the frustrations. It doesn’t take them away forever but it certainly heals the hurt now. Or simply just lessens the panic and sense of not being able to cope around the experience, and makes it bearable. In the last few weeks of desperate, stressful, and fucking intense times, I got into a place where the only thing that helped me when swimming in severe anxiety – or stories or blinding rage or suicidality and a deep sense of hopelessness – was to flood my body with love. With the sensation, the physical sensation, of love. It literally was the only thing that calmed it all down and made me feel like I had a grip on it all…or more like made me feel like I would, was, and will, survive. And then, after the first few waves of love, I would focus on the feeling of support and let that flood my body. Basically my tool was a fuck load of flooding for this challenging time…kinda like a flooding for a flooding. Instead of the ptsd flooding that was going on, I chose a kinda flooding that triggered hope instead of an all encompassing sense of disaster. I sure don’t feel like I’ve been to any WATER though, for all this flooding that’s been happening. God, I miss that more than words can describe. My heart literally aches for it. It hurts. Gimme sea, gimme rivers, gimme water it’s all I need. (I write this lying in the bath, so that helps, but I’m not sure my iPhone likes it.)
So back to the story – I really believed in that moment, when the lady said that, that Jesus loved me. And she did too, so I had proof…I had back up. It wasn’t just me being cocky, in case my critics piped up in this situation. Whereas if a guy has showed me affection or the slightest hint of liking me the last year or so, my inner critics have bombarded my brain and bod with megaphones of doubt and gongs of hate (basically, an orchestra of bullying), but they stayed unusually quiet for this one…perhaps they believe it too. Or perhaps they just thought it was so completely ridiculous that they’d gone to pester another part of me. Motherfuckers.
Perhaps Jesus still loves me – perhaps it wasn’t just a fleeting affair. (I hope it wasn’t. If it was, what a slag. Jesus you’re dead to me.) Weirdly though, I think part of me still does believe that Jesus loves me. Not because I know it’s true but more because it makes sense. (And when i say Jesus, i mean god, I’m just referring to the big J in this context because of the story). It would make sense that there would be/is something out there – something a fuck load bigger than me – to love and support and guide me. And to remind me of my radiance and my greatness and my deep sense of belonging here on earth, by sending cross-pushing ladies past me in the street. Throughout writing this piece, I feel like I’ve developed a deeper sense of who my god actually is and where my relationship stands to religion…from where i started at the beginning and now going back to edit, i realise my doubt has worn thin and been replaced with a strengthened skin of beliefs of where I am with it at the moment. That’s pretty cool.
I still feel hives of cringe and disbelief spread through me when I think of Jesus. I definitely will always refer to this presence as god, rather than big J. Some guy in sandals with wavey brown hair that was here millions of years ago, might connect with billions of others but it doesn’t for me. I believe in a big presence rather than one average sized being. That to me, makes sense.
I think this whole thing with the “Jesus loves you” thing today, just tucked a little nugget of goodness and inquisition, into a pocket that’s been opening gently, filling up, and expanding, for the last few months/year. It’s a pocket in my jeans of life. It’s a pocket that sews itself right up again when I lose faith in the universe and wonder who the FUCK god thinks he is – if there even is one anyway – prancing around, causing all this shit to happen for me…but I feel like it’s love and/or hate: God gets a shit load of respect and inquisition and love from me, and then rapidly gets a shit load of ‘I don’t fucking believe in you anyways’ thrown at him/her. Poor guy.
Even in those moments of ‘who the fuck do you think you are’ or ‘where are you, you dick’, towards God, there is still a calm gratitude, and warm compassion and sense of deep, widespread, sacred connection with the universe. That’s always there, whether the god thing is or not. And in times when even that – the universe thing –
seemingly fucks off somewhere else, it then pops up again, slightly battered and bruised, but having grown a fuck load in wisdom, respect and worthiness. The growth is always beautiful.
My relationship with religion is somewhat shonky and ever-developing, but Jesus obviously did exist. Therefore Jesus could obviously love me. My god is an energy, a life force, the earth, the creator of the earth, Mother Earth…it feels like more of a presence, than a thing. But I do want it to be a thing. I want it to be someone I pray to, but I just think I feel more connected – or perhaps prefer – the grandiose-ness and sense of real safety/holding when I pray to or connect with something far larger than the earth.
I always come back to the line from the Marianne Williamson poem: “You are a child of God”. We all are. This concept always blows my mind and brings me home, no matter how many times I think of it. It grounds me, connects me, and reminds me I’m okay. Reminds me I deserve to be here, just like all the rest of the life on the earth.
That’s pretty rad.