It all started when I was born. Emerging from my mother's womb into the bright lights of the delivery room was my first religious experience. Many people have described near-death experiences as heading down a long tunnel toward an intense, white light.
Well, I found that my birth experience was remarkably similar to that typical near-death experience.
You would think that since the experiences were so analagous, I would have had a "near-birth" experience. But no. I was actually born.
And what I was saying (translated below) was startling...
The Haitian nurse passed out, realizing the meaning of my words. (Since that day, no one else has been able to figure out what exactly the words meant. And the Haitian nurse would never speak about those words again. In fact, during my time in the infant nursery, she would come in nightly and spinkle chicken blood on my forehead while placing chicken bones in the forms of little crosses around my body.)
As I grew up, I had a fairly normal religious life. My family was Catholic and I attended Catholic school, having the requisite "attempted fondling" by a parish priest (now bounced from the priesthood).
Surprisingly, one day, at age 13, I was followed home from school by a squirrel. Realizing that this was a sign from God, I immediately built a little home for this squirrel in my room (unbeknownst to my parents). I began worshipping the squirrel and developed an entire catechism around my squirrel worship that included rites and ceremonies, including making a little crown for the squirrel from aluminum foil and my sister's bead collection.
This went on for two years until one day my mother discovered my squirrel god in the back of my closet and called an exterminator to remove the creature. I was at school that day and came home to find my Lord and Savior being dragged down the front steps with a little noose around his neck by a man with boils and warts on his face (a result of working with the deadly chemicals of extermination, no doubt).
Traumatized? You bet.
My life of faith bounced around as a result of that experience. I did not return to squirrel worship... or Catholicism, for that matter. Instead, I went on a soul-searching journey that included Paganism (worhip of various inert objects, including, in my case, a carved "pirate" coconut head that a friend had picked up at a souvenir shop in Florida), Buddhism, Taoism, Soupism (worship of soup -- I was hooked on split pea with ham), Judaism (some things a guy does in a desperate attempt to get laid, though I later wed a different Jewish woman), Sunism (not a good religion for a lily-white Irish guy with a high risk of developing melanoma), Islam, Hinduism, Rastafarianism (can't remmeber a thing from that one), Sleepism (loved that one -- may revisit it one day), and, finally, Bikism (I ride my bike everywhere, totalling a couple of hundred miles a week).
I'm still on a spiritual quest. Recently, during summer months, I practice Bell's Oberonism, the worship of Kalamazoo Brewing Company's summer brew, Bell's Oberon Ale. If you love beer, you'd worship this gem, too.
So my religious experience has spanned the globe, so to speak.
I'm looking forward to my next adopted religion. Not sure what it'll be, but I'm thinking if things keep going the way they are under the current regime, I may start looking into Gettingthefuckouttahereism. But, then, I couldn't get Bell's Oberon... though I could still ride a bike everywhere.
I hope this diary spurs some deep thought -- some reflection -- for a few folks here. I know it did for me.
Thank you for your understanding and interest. And keep in mind that if you find yourself sailing down a long tunnel toward a bright, white light, you may be experiencing rebirth.