Big Veda

In Hinduism, a Veda is a knowledge or truth writing. I don't pretend that this stuff is anything more than rumination. But through writing it I find a bit of knowledge or truth. Hope you find some truth too. PAX


My faith as a Snickers bar

I have an orphaned faith. When I reflect on my spiritual life and condition, I see this nebulous faith that belongs to no particular faith tradition. Much like an apt politician who can find no platform upon which he can confidently stand, I am a religious independent. In recent days, I have been immersing myself in discovering the Orthodox Church. It is a faith tradition that holds its history, both illustrious and infamous, very closely. So close at times that is it impossible to separate history from dogma itself. While I still know very little about the Orthodox Church, it is not difficult for me to identify with the inner workings of this faith tradition. Instead of attempting to harmonize its past with some "pure" theology, separating the events and dogmas as objective pieces, the Orthodox seem to hold their history and their theology in one hand, refusing to let modernity sterilize their faith. The mysteries of the universe are not only allowed to perpetuate but are celebrated as wholly enjoined by the mystery of God Himself.

For me, Faith is like a candybar. It is greater than the sum of its parts. Take a Snickers bar (a suggestion I have taken as recently as 10 minutes ago), and presuming this was the first Snickers bar I have ever seen or heard of (perish the thought) when I unwrap one it looks like chocolate. This is to be expected because until I break it open, it remains simply a chocolate bar. I know nothing else about it. When I take my first bite, I discover that there is more to this little beauty than I was first led to believe. There are peanuts solidly embedded in caramel, layered on noughat and covered in that chocolate. When I chew this blessed confection I don't taste chocolate, caramel, peanuts and noughat. I taste a Snickers bar.

Let's assume I was to sit you down at a table and give you four separate bowls each containing one of the following: chocolate, caramel, peanuts, and noughat. Now if I turn you loose to eat from each bowl as you like, chances are you are going to eat the ingredient that you like the most. Perhaps you simply adore peanuts and you polish off the peanuts in just a couple of handfuls. And maybe you are a fan of chocolate and you eat the better part of what I serve you all at once. Then you reluctantly eat a little of the caramel in part because it looks tasty but maybe you also feel compelled to eat some because I served it to you. Now the noughat is a different matter. You may look at it and say to yourself, "there is no way in hell that I will eat that stuff unless someone can explain to me exactly what it is." Of course, you won't be eating any noughat today because I am certain that no one knows exactly what it is. Now, you ate almost all of the ingredients of a Snickers bar but did it taste like a Snickers bar?

Our very personal faith is much like that Snickers bar. There are ingredients that we look upon fondly and desire to taste in large amounts. There are some ingredients that we will look upon if necessary but would rather just leave alone. Then there are the ingredients, the noughats if you will, that we just don't touch. We should learn, as the Orthodox, to let the whole be greater than the sum of its parts. We should embrace our faith as a symphony sounds, flavors, emotions, events, lessons, pains, and joys that remind us, fundamentally, that there is a God. From there, we all must simply take our orphaned faith to the foster home that cares for and nurtures us best, knowing all along that the foster home is no substitute for the true family that exists in, among, and between those other orphans who all understand what is means to be alone. But being unique requires us to be alone, not lonely, and embracing the Snickers within requires us to eat and be glad for the harmony of flavors that make your Snickers bar the best one you've ever tasted.


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