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Chapter 53. Epilogue, It’s Over, When It’s Over
Chapter 53. Epilogue, It’s Over, When It’s Over

Chapter 53. Epilogue, It’s Over, When It’s Over

CobraElizabeth Lin Johnson

With attempted humility, I attend church again; a small Catholic one which on occasion has a Latin, Trident Mass. The youngest granddaughter goes with me. With incense, singing the beautiful Kyrie Eleison and Gloria in Excelsis Deo, I have reconnection with Notre Dame and she, an introduction to spiritual and mystical joy. The Church has put Dante’s imaginary hell to rest. She escapes the spiritual negative I endured.

The church we attend has baroque statues of The Blessed Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene with their metal racks of flickering candles in little colored glasses. Like Mom and I long ago, we light our candles, she before the Blessed Virgin Mary and me in front of Mary Magdalene. We, kneel, cross ourselves and accompany our candle’s flickering lights with prayers.

I toss in a Hail Mary for each family member, alive and dead, special ones for Julie, my father-in-law and for a long-ago Burma girl I never met and at the end, before arising from kneeling, beseech God for my husband. I sincerely hope someone or thing hears my pleas.

Am I religious? Some say as science advances, religion retreats. To me, it's the opposite. The more we know, the greater God is. As science advances we learn there’s vastly more we don’t know. The majesty of God expands to ever more incomprehensible wonder, not shrinks.

Who or what is God? What happens on the point of death? Where did we spring from? Where do we go when no longer here?

How can I know what is unknowable? The greatest minds differ in answers and always have. They don't know either when they proclaim they do. Yet, they do stumble on truths validated by subsequent science. Theologians agree, God knows all or as the Koran says, "It is written."

Einstein's space/time theory of relativity agrees. If so, my story was written at the instant of the big bang, my life predetermined, even if an infinitesimally minute flicker in it.

I harken back to Sister Mary Joseph from second graded who explained complex religious concepts so succulently to me. Talking to her, I find my personal God. When I struggled with understanding God as a Trinity, she explained God the Father was our brain, Jesus was our heart and the Holy Spirt our spiritual soul and in communion, they joined within us.

In our imaginary conversations she asks.

“Elizabeth, what makes us different than animals?”

“Tell me Sister, is it something God makes us do that’s different?”

“Elizabeth, animals have brains, but can they think abstractly, do algebra, make a scientific experiment?”

“I don’t think so Sister.”

“Animals have hearts too Elizabeth, but can they love like a human and turn the other cheek?”

“I don’t think so Sister.”

“How about their spiritual souls? Do they make art, music or think they have souls that outlive their death?

“I don’t think they understand what a spiritual soul is, Sister.”

“That’s correct and it’s these that separate us from animals, intellectual brains, loving hearts, and spiritual souls. God the Father is our brain and scientific study is the deepest theological learning. We seek God in thought. It’s Jesus in our heart that invokes the emotion of love to overcome hate and become one with Him. When we love, we seek Jesus. It’s our spiritual souls that create music and art by attempts to join God the spirit in our souls.

That’s why God is our Trinity, Elizabeth.”

Religion for me, is to accept God’s incomprehensible creation revealed by science while harmonized by Jungian needs of universal human love and spiritualism.

Walking in the path of humility after discovering my sin of pride has brought me closer to all, especially those I love most. Please don’t think my tale is an attempt to proselytize or seek approbation. I’m still learning how to live my life and accept my errors. How can I tell another how to live theirs? I know not what cards you’ve been dealt, your fated experiences, the era, and places you traveled. I suggest humility but that’s up to you. Many a great leader is guilty of pride. As Francis, the Pope said.

“Who am I to say?”

Learning of scientific discoveries, submitting to the love of Jesus, and accepting the spiritualism of prayer, uplift me to a higher realm. I take what I enjoy, skip the rest and condemn none, not even Paul. I don’t know his purpose in the Big Bang. To assume it was for me is prideful. I earnestly pray wirh the Trinity within me but question no further. That’s my amorphous belief.

After attending church awhile, a priest asked why I never went to confession. I told him I have a special confessor. He assumed one at a different parish. I no longer need to confess except to myself. I made my final penance. While typically discarding, attire associated with an affair after it ended, I kept jewelry.

To commemorate my secret puppet shadow's retirement I sold it, an amount which totaled over $50,000, a surprise considering jewelry retail markup. I split it and gave it anonymously to a church poor box and the Salvation Army. I struggled with Edward's but in a true act of contrition threw his in. I only saved the little gold frog, a memento to remind me, what was, was but wasn’t, as sometimes, I think it was all a puppet shadow dream.

Who am I? It's not the question I ask anymore. I ask, who was I? That’s what I sought to answer as I wrote my personal conundrum saga.

Don't judge me harshly. I lived one day at a time. I tried the best I could with who I thought was me, during a different era, even though not so long ago. I’ve learned and accepted it wasn’t my husband's suggested swinging which released my secret puppet shadow. It was my pride’s creation, fornication its expression.

Was I born with a libidinous gene inherited from Dad? Did he wantonly abandon a family in China for lust; lust of white women? Was there a sexual threshold he once crossed and searched thereafter to rediscover, like me?

How about Mom? Why did the shop owner give her sweets? Did she sway in her little sarong and beguile the shopkeeper? Did she have a come-hither smile when entering the store to buy spam and flirt for a sweet? Did she seek to leave a dysfunctional family like me? Was my libidinousness inherited from both?

Of course not. Why seek excuses for behavior I don’t want to admit guilt to. It was me, only me.

In truth, I loved my secret puppet shadow despite fear her persona would destroy my life and family. Fear was part of the excitement. Yes, I enjoyed the sex, the subconscious interactions of animus and anima but it was more complicated. It was power, novelty, self-esteem but as Sister Mary Joseph revealed, mostly pride which drove me, like an addict, again and again, betraying loved ones for pride’s rush of superiority.

Yes, it was the rush I sought, the rush of the first night I crossed the threshold of Edward's apartment, the rush of pride which I never satiated. Each affair a diminished high of pride which failed to match the initial crossing but was still crossed, over and over again. The rush was pride’s unquenchable thirst, its fulfillment diminished by repetition.

Our lives are a Balinese puppet shadow play, our movements are seen through an opaque screen with a lighted background. Reality behind the screen is what we believe from in front. My shadow now fades with old age as the light dims and flickers. Soon it will be snuffed out, the whiff of taper smoke my cremation. New shadows, illuminated by the strong light of youth, will replace her to live their generation of puppet shadows. It’s as it has always been. One generation after another, we have our say, then say no more. I hope my offspring enjoy their puppet shadows but don’t have secret ones.

By now you know why I wrote this wanton opus. It’s pride's rush of course. I'm still addicted to crossing the long-ago threshold. In old age, my secret puppet shadow has only memories to slake pride’s thirst. Humility it seems is not enough.

I will not bore you further. You’ve read what you want to know. I have what I sought; a prideful puppet shadow set free and antithetical humility. I need say, nor write more.

In life I’ve learned, what I thought was, was not, what I think is now, is not and this applies to you too. Our lives are flickering Balinese Puppet Shadows behind a screen. Who we are behind the screen is different than what is seen.

Author Notes: Once again religious, sshe admits she can't tell you what to do when it comes to God.

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About The Author
Elizabeth Lin Johnson
About This Story
12 Dec, 2018
Read Time
7 mins
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