February 22nd, 2006


Different strokes

Yesterday was my Dorothy Day. Dorothy is recovering from knee surgery, and she said she has to tell her body every part of each step right now - set down foot, press on heel,etc etc. Doesn't happen automatically. I thought about this and realized that my body does almost nothing automatically.

In the swimming pool I direct each arm to do specific actions on every stroke. I talk myself through each flip turn, and each one comes out differently (not many very well). I talk to my legs to make sure they are kicking. Honestly, this attention to detail makes me tired! I wish it were more automatic.

I also talk myself through steps when I am walking. I can't remember the last time I was unaware of my feet or my legs. So is there anything I do without thinking? Even my fingers, flying over the keys right now, are positioned in the way I know is good for them - perhaps from my piano training. I tell myself to sit up straight periodically.

Is this just me or is this an aging thing or...what?

And another thing...

My recent posts have included some discussion of religion and lack of it. I have been thinking about this a lot lately.

Most of my friends belong to a church. Most are Episcopalians, actually, although some friends who are less close belong to fundamentalist churches and pray for me.

I sing in a chorale that performs major masterworks, most of which are religious. I have no trouble singing these with a great deal of emotion and devotion - to the music, to the human state - and in a way I am an actor when I sing. I think about the composers and their devotion to a god.

I went to a concert recently that was held in the Mission San Luis Obispo. I looked around at the statues, the candles, the many trappings of the Catholic religion, and thought about how long it took to develop the many procedures involved in practicing a religion. It did not escape me that these practices were all created by people, and that the holy book was also written by people, yet so many people, so many of my friends, take the words as the word of a higher being and the practices as somehow required by this higher being.

I want to ask these friends, "Why do you believe?"

I think most of them would answer that they always have, that they were brought up in that religion. Is there a reason,then, that none of them ever seriously questioned that religion or religion in general? Perhaps it is because it is comfortable? Because it offers a kind of life after death? I am interested in finding out why this one part of our lives, many of our lives, escapes the perception and questioning given to others. I am glad that there are people investigating exactly this question.