A Passion

Passionate. Rich crimson. Electric blue. Deep purple.

Bold brushstrokes of paint across a canvas, perhaps later shredded with a box-cutter in a fury of artistic emotion. The mad fervor with which an inspired writer does not sleep, but scribbles away in the darkness, until pages and fingertips are stained with ink.

A frenzied rhythmic dance between two or more lovers, hidden away in a world that was created and exists just for them. A picture frame shattered on the floor nearby, remnant of an excited altercation.

Purple blossoms across ivory skin. A lone pillow damp with salty tears.

Passionate

A madness—

“But I don’t want to go among mad people.”
“Oh, you can’t help that. We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?”
“You must be, or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Perhaps to be passionate is to be driven by a force that can never be satisfied.

Perhaps passion is an art. A demon. An emotion that consumes, like madness, like fire. Spirit. Soul. Love. Hate. A [passionate] suffering.

…Would you give up everything for what you are passionate about?

“What is your truth?”

I don’t know.

If you’d asked me a couple of years before now, I probably would’ve had a different answer. As it stands, now, I have no idea, and have just barely started a journey of exploration about that.

The question itself, as asked of me, refers specifically to religion, and has been a focus of my pastor’s sermons for the last few weeks. I was raised as a Christian and still attend a Christian church, but within the last couple of years or so I’ve stepped away from that faith and have become skeptical. I have questions, but I’m not even really sure what they are; I guess all I do know is that I don’t believe in or accept Christianity the way I used to.

Christianity is based on the Bible. Okay. That calls forth one question I know that I’ve had lately: How am I supposed to just accept that the Bible is as true as it’s said to be? How do I know that those stories really happened, when it was all at least a couple thousand years ago and many of them are pretty fantastical and hard to believe—who comes back from the dead? Who just turns into a pillar of salt? How in the world can a sea just part to create a pathway for people—this kind of stuff does not happen! Not scientifically, not logically, and definitely not today. And how do I know that the Bible, supposed to be the Word of God, and essentially marketed as such, was not influenced by the humans who wrote tit all down?

Christianity also teaches that it is the only true religion—the only way to a life after death (another rather fantastical concept, if you give it some thought). How do I know that’s true? Why not Islam, which seems to have some similarities to Christianity? What about Hinduism? What about Native American religions, Mother Earth, everything that’s been around for a lot longer? What proof do I have that Christianity is true, and everything else isn’t?

I asked my mom that question once when I was about 13 or so, and the answer she gave me was satisfactory at the time: “Because Jesus died and was resurrected, and this is the only religion that claims such a thing.” Or something along those lines. But today, that brings me back to the first question I just posed: “How do I know that that really happened?”

I don’t. I don’t know.

So I want to find out. My church just started this weekly course called Alpha which is intended to address questions about Christianity, and serve as something of an introduction to the faith. I’ve done a little Bible study recently with one of my friends, and she said that she’s had similar questions that I have, and that she studied other religions just enough to figure out why she believes what she does about Christianity. That’s something that I want to do: sit down and examine some other religions, too, and decide for myself.

Maybe some will crucify me for this (no pun intended) but I’m actually interested in Buddhism. I haven’t really studied it that much, but just enough to understand that it’s not really a religion per se; Buddhists do not worship the Buddha as a god, but rather see him as a Teacher, and try to incorporate his teachings into their daily lives and to build upon them. They practice mindfulness, meditation, and try to overcome negative states of mind, which lead to suffering.

I also know just a tiny bit about Islam—probably not enough to pass any judgment on it for myself, but I see similarities between it and Christianity, and I don’t think I believe that Muslims cannot go to Heaven just because they view Jesus as a prophet rather than as the Son of God.

I’m not an atheist. I’m not an agnostic—yet. But I’m currently in no position to call myself a Christian, so I won’t do that, either. But I want to know. What is my truth? What is yours?

“Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”

“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”

My dear James Michener, I’d like to thank you for giving me, when I was about 17 years old, this quote that so describes why I love the art of writing. Before then, I don’t think I had anything to describe it so accurately. But now, if only you could give me the secret to tangling with human emotions once again…

When I was a senior in high school, I spent a few months working in a family friend’s law firm, and he commented to me one day about how the art of writing is like the art of law: you never fully perfect it. That’s why it’s called “the practice of law”—and, therefore also, the “practice” of writing. It’s been ages, though, since I’ve really felt like I’ve practiced it. There’s no right or wrong way to go about it; I guess even this blog post counts as a form of practice. But does it take me anywhere?

It’s hard to write when I’m not sure of what to say. Because, see, the thing about writing is that it’s supposed to be me, creating, and speaking, and leaving an imprint of myself on the world. But I have no idea anymore of what that imprint looks like. Not should look like, but does look like. I’ve felt very much lately like I don’t know myself, and that’s a very unhealthy place for me to be. I’ve had some bad days within the last couple of weeks, very down days, and I think it comes most directly from a place of insecurity, that is fueled by this idea that I don’t know who I am, what makes me me. Maybe that’s why I love songs like Billy Joel’s “Vienna” and magazines like Bella Grace so much: they tell me what I wish the world would tell me more: that I need to slow down, pause, take a few minutes and a few deep breaths.

But the reasons why I want to be told to slow down… “Slow down, you crazy child. You’re so ambitious for a juvenile.” I don’t know if they’re true, or if I only wish they were.

I’m also that type of person who wants to know what the world thinks of her, and particularly in this romanticized way that probably only exists in poetry. I want to be the type of girl that inspires quotes like the ones I find on Pinterest, like these:

she walked in moon dust
and stars were sprinkled
in her hair

[Unknown]

❤︎

She always had that about her, that look of otherness, of eyes that see things much too far, and of thoughts that wander off the edge of the world.

[Joanne Harris]

❤︎❤︎

Maybe I am that kind, and maybe I’m not, and probably I’m better off not knowing one way or the other, because it could very well be the mystery there that makes it beautiful.

As for me…

“Who in the world am I?”

— Alice