Episode 1 of 3
It has taken me forever to give an update of my Lent, and what I’d committed to. I wish I could say I was the perfect Lenten observer.
Well, instead of all my moments being encompassed by the Passion, I am embarrassed to admit that the subject of my meditations was George Michael. I know. What the fuck? The ghost of George Michael had me trolling YouTube channels until crazy hours of the morning watching interviews and listening to his music. I wasn’t even a fan while he was alive, so what is this?!
If that wasn’t bad enough, my mind would wake me up in the morning to his bloody catchy tunes, overtaking my meditations, and insinuating his lyrics as mantras into my quiet moments ‘…well I’ve been loved, so I know that it exists…’. This could only be boloyi, some GMjuju! I know he was masterful in his music making and singing craft, and seemed like such a nice person, but this is ridiculous. As for that flashy smile with all those teeth, and so many needy folk here in the Cape…
My Lent had turned into a passionate one sided affair with the very gay and very dead George Michael. I’m so sorry Jesus.
As an aside, I’d like to comment how all these super talented performers all have personal trainers, managers, massage therapists, body guards, and so on, and yet none of them ever thinks of having a psychologist or counsellor on their pay roll. Why not? So many of the ones we’ve lost over the years have been due to some self- medicating substance habit or other, gone very wrong.
But back to my Lent, I’m not surprised at the turn of events- after all, I had long given up on committing to giving up most of the things I had given up for it- coffee was back on the breakfast table, red wine a happy- making companion at sunset. My 3am meditations replaced by much needed sleep, and my meals as random and unplanned as ever, well, safe for the perpetual meat as a disappointing constant. It’s as if I deliberately went out of my way to disappoint myself.
When I started this Lenten journey, I’d read up on the events surrounding the Passion of Christ to help me understand the real meaning of it. One of the readings was about Jesus’ forty days and forty nights of prayer and fasting. It sounds like it was hard going for him, being human and all, and he was depending on his disciples’ moral support to help him through it. They, being even more human than him, couldn’t keep up with him. They kept falling asleep at inappropriate moments, and probably gave in to the sort of foibles I describe above, including a devastating (and necessary?) betrayal.
One particularly difficult night, Jesus finds his followers in deep sleep again, instead of deep in prayer. In a moment of hunger, testing by the devil and fatigue, Jesus gives in to his own gatvolness and castigates them, particularly Peter, calling him “lazy, sleeping like an old dog”! When I read that I felt as if Jesus was addressing me directly, letting me know how disappointed he was in me.
That’s why I found it so easy to identify with all the disciples (instead of Jesus, whom I was desperate to identify with), and understand the ease with which we can give in to our human compulsions, even when under the loving guidance of an evolved teacher who is right there with us. What chance do I have, really, in this lifetime?
Seriously though, with my life in such turmoil, how do I remain faithful to the ungraspable spiritual life? How do I continue to meet my human obligations whilst longing for spiritual release? I don’t know. I’m just sorry I’d decided on doing this Lent thing in the first place, and then making the mistake of declaring it to the world.
But when my Lent got hard going, I too gave in to my own ‘old lazy dogness’.
Having let myself off my commitments, I went one further, and took drugs.
I’d driven to that lovely village of McGregor one weekend for a workshop with our youth group at The Mothertongue Project. I’d run the session on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, and had driven back to town on Saturday afternoon to gate crash a luncheon hosted by my friend in her gorgeous home in Seapoint.
Refreshing and delicious supplies of Gin and Tonics welcomed me as I landed, followed by the meal. My friend is an attentive and generous host, and knows how to lay out a spread, and she had. I gorged on her roast potatoes like the Irish.
The music then came out, and some dancing. In between this, we found time to mourn the loss of Ntate Ahmed Kathrada, and drive ourselves crazy over the idiocy of our president. With emotions this high, my friend takes the opportunity to mention that she’d acquired some black paste marijuana, which she offered us to try. I usually pass up on smoking weed since it does absolutely nothing for me but deposit nasty breath in my mouth.
But for some reason, the mood was right, so I swallowed the tiny half a chewing gum-sized thick paste, which promptly adhered to the roof of my mouth. But I was dancing and we were talking and laughing, and my friend decided that that tiny amount was probably not right, so we tried a small second round. All this is happening on the very day that marijuana had been legalised in Cape Town, although I discovered this only the following day
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