I ride my bike to work. This is not an uncommon thing here in Denver, Colorado, despite what I had originally thought, back in my days of youth, back before I got behind the wheel. And I find my aggression to mount with each passing tick on my odometer. I feel like Trubee Davison, yelling at the "polyglot mob of tramps and hoodlums" who drive everywhere, tossing glass bottles out their windows, to shatter them across the gutters and sidewalks.
A friend of mine, with whom I work, started up a theatrical production company recently. Their first show was launched last week, and I was able to attend. It has now been a full week since that show, as I sat in uncomfortable chairs meant for the torture chambers of the ancients, and I've had plenty of time to think about the issues discussed. The biggest issue was how a priest can break with the Vatican--how politics in the Church can affect the choices of a man in cassock, the cup-bearer of the Catholics. Ostensibly, the production focused on how the Church would be able to, if nothing else, bless homosexual partnerships. Not marriage. Not civil union sanctioned by the faith. A blessing. Someone who is meant to give hope to the flock giving hope to the flock.
After watching this show, I had an immediate desire to go to my parents' Catholic church the next morning, to sit in the back and watch the intrinsic beauty and grace of the service. But I held myself back. I couldn't do it. I tried. I woke up, I stared at my alarm clock, just as my boyfriend, Scott, groggily woke up next to me and put his hand on my shoulder. "What're you getting up for?" I kept staring at the clock, ticking by around 7:00am. Thought about when I was asked to leave the service a couple years back, as I interrupted the sermon of a self-righteous priest eager to bolster hatred of the Jew, the Muslim, and the Hindu. I remembered standing up and saying, "No. No, you're wrong," and I remember the shame I brought down on my family for it, my parents sitting near me in the choir loft, their faces flushed, the knitting suddenly stopped, the crossword puzzles shuffled into bags. A stray cough somewhere in the congregation.
"I'm sorry, Scott," I said lamely. "I forgot to turn off the alarm last night." He wrapped his arms around me and I quickly fell back to sleep.
Now, having had a week to think about everything floating around in my head surrounding that event, having dodged glass shards spread on the streets on my way to work, to coffee, to home, having cursed driversby as their arrogance nearly kills me, having slashed my own tire in distraction after an angry man screamed, while driving past me, "FUCK YOU KKK!" I've reached few conclusions. I've been holding on to the pain I feel when I think of my faith for too long. It is time to let go of it. I've been, much as other martyrs, carrying a cross of being mistreated by an unaccountable, distant voice and using it to ensure my own sorrow and suffering. As all martyrs must.
I'll get on my bike during lunch and ride around some of the more beautiful paths in Denver that just happen to be near my workplace. I'll work up a sweat in the 70F weather, and return for another 4 hours of work. I'll probably see more people on the path than I expect, as I am often surprised by the volume of bikers in this "mountain town." And I will do so with strong faith--faith in myself, for once, rather than faith in what I carry on my back.