Time for a champion

Follow the bouncing ball on this one – it gets weird, and in the end, it is probably not clear. However, it’s too Memo-ish to dismiss. It is the most epically Memo-packed incident since I began to record such incidents.

My friend K – who was best friends with "that boy", back in the day – had this little joke with me on Facebook about pokes. He would refrain from poking back, which meant I could not poke him again until he had done so. In this manner, he was sort of keeping the poke hostage, and joked about "releasing" it from captivity whenever he did decide to poke back.

I think this was in retaliation for my practice of not poking back until I had amassed 50 or more pokes. I would then go on an overnight poke-a-thon, sort of a sneak attack. All very silly, I admit, but good, clean fun.

Last Christmas, I took a cue from K and granted a general poke amnesty in honor of the holiday. Several weeks ago, I decided that the next amnesty would be in honor of Independence Day. I wrote a haiku that I would publish as I liberated the pokes.

Freed, the blinking pokes
stumble into exodus
Independence Day

Note the use of the word "exodus".

Perhaps a week ago, my young friend Annie posted a new Matisyahu video for his song "Sunshine". Yeah, my keyword. I decided to ignore it.

Today is the day – I posted my haiku, and freed the pokes. And another friend posted about Matisyahu, which reminded me to take another look at the video for "Sunshine".

The song kicks ass. The singer, who had adopted the life and customs of hasidism some 10 years ago, has recently shed is yarmulke and facial hair. As a result, he suddenly and rather painfully resembles the 1979-ish version of "that boy", so much so that it has become almost unbearable to look at him.

And yet, I look.

I think the video prompted me to dream about "that boy" a few days later, but I do not recall the details of the dream. I did not write it down, or tell it to myself like a story several times, as I normally do. I did not want to remember it. Well, not so much "remember" as "dwell". And anyway, we’ve long-since established that none of this is about him, at all, at all. It’s all about me, me, me. He’s just the thing that gets my attention. Dammit.

The video is brilliantly beautiful. It opens on a shot of a black scorpion moving about on a rock. Yeah, if memory serves (and I bet it does), "that boy" was born under the sign of Scorpio. After that, there is a biblical quotation – "I am sending an angel ahead of you to bring you to the place I have prepared". That’s Exodus 23:20, by the way. Yeah, I said "exodus".

Truthfully, I have issues with this part of Exodus. It’s all about the promises God allegedly made to the Hebrews as they took delivery of the commandments and prepared to wander in search of the promised land. God allegedly said (paraphrase), "if you obey my angel unquestioningly, I will have your back. I will smite your enemies, groups of people with names like Caananite and Hitite and other ite-ending names, people whose land you want. I’ll help you take what’s theirs."

Really, God? Really. Really?

I honestly do not blame God. I think this is just more evidence that the Bible was written by people. Male people, with an agenda. In fact, it’s sort of the same attitude that Big Business and Too Big To Fail have toward the common people these days. They are the shit, and God is on their side. They will take whatever they want, to do with what they
will. If you don’t play by their rules, you might as well have "-ite" on the end of your name.

There is some other imagery involved in the video which a Jew might not immediately recognize, but is quite obvious to one raised in a Catholic home. The "angel" appears in the form of a young girl, perhaps 10-12 years old. EDITED TO ADD: the angel always has PIXIE DUST swirling around her head!!! 🙂 He leads her around, in several shots on the back of a donkey. This reminds me of a porcelain statue that is probably still sitting in my mother’s china cabinet – a study in white, blue, and gold, it portrays Joseph leading Mary and their swaddled Son, who are seated on the back of a donkey. I’m betting mine is not the only Catholic mother whose china cabinet bears such a figure. It’s pretty iconic to us. I am not saying Matisyahu is converting to Catholicism. But it definitely appears as though he is exploring, expanding his worldview. "I am reclaiming myself," he said on his blog. "Trusting my goodness and my divine mission."

In the song, he sings, "It’s time for a champion…" and I recall that this is what Jesus was supposed to be for the world. In fact, we’ve had a few champions. The others were called Abraham, Martin, and John. Maybe, throw Arthur in there as well. We always end up killing our champions. But what I think he’s really saying is that HE is his own champion. He sings of letting himself down, before inviting himself to grow up.

The song lyrics make reference to Peter Pan. Of Peter Pan, I have always said "he’s every man I ever dated and/or married". I also answer to "Tink" in certain circles. The irony of the reference comes in it’s duality – "Time to grow and be a man, want to fly high like Peter Pan, no more never never land". Well, make up your mind – you can’t be a grown up AND Peter Pan at the same time.

Or can you? The thing is, while living under strict religious governance, it’s sort of like you abdicate responsibility for making decisions about your behavior. It’s all been decided for you. This is the way, follow it. Take away the rules, and you’ve got to fly solo. It’s all up to you. Choose your course. Be a champion.

There’s an evolution that occurs, a progression from donkey to bicycle to motorcycle. We shed the old, and in doing so, we free ourselves to advance to the next level. You know what happens when you peel away the rules, remove how it’s always been, and let the people wander in the desert? A new definition of "normal" emerges.

Like a poke, I’ve been liberated, led from the dungeons to blink in the unobstructed light of the sun. I’ve been wandering in the desert for nearly two years. None of the constraints I’d been living under prior to my years in the desert appear to apply any longer. On some level, I knew that, and started to shift my direction, about a year ago. I don’t see anything happening though, other than what I myself have shaped into happening.

It’s time for a champion. That champion has always been me. Rescue seems to be meant only for others. This is not the first time I’ve had to bear the disappointment that there will be no rescue, nor is it the first time that I will have to push aside Fear, brother to Ambiguity, and keep a clear head.

Though rescue be absent, guidance is generally available to those with ears that hear and eyes that see. It’s a constant struggle to fend off the propensity to be deaf and blind. I just need to be on the lookout for that angel. Who, for me, may or may not bear a striking resemblance to Matisyahu on a motorcycle. "God On A Harley", anyone? 😉

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