Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When people DIE....


Someone died.

And you know that means when you're Italian....a huge glass full of fucking FEAR that the deceased may not be given access to the V.I.P. crowd hanging in Club Stairway to Heaven.

It means chanting back canned phrases at a man dressed in an embellished robe, while tuning out and thinking about the kind of casserole the Parish may offer at the end of the service, or if the pretty stained glass was painted by hand (?). Rosary's aren't a form of "meditation" they're superficial comfort of familiar words that are supposed to "mean something" so that you feel less guilt about the fact that you haven't prayed since Easter and some sort of ease that you've "done your part", or put in your request for her swift acceptance into such an exclusive club.

My Great, GREAT, Aunt Margaret, kicked off after 80something years of feisty red-headed, Italian/Irish existence and then last night, we had to attend the Rosary to pray for her PERMISSION into Heaven. Like it's the fucking country club for do-gooders.

.....? No? No one else finds that strange? That a woman who lived a full bountiful, incredible life, loyal, kind, happy- would need to be given permission? To me, the whole praying that they weren't "too big of a sinner" thing is like asking if a child deserves to be fed. OF COURSE they do. Were we not created by a PERFECT creator to be perfectly the way he/she envisioned us being?? Have the lives we lived not been exactly the plan that the Divine has planned for us???


Our "source" created us, therefor- I'm sure would like to see us at the end. Sort of like a Time Capsule, you put it away for awhile and then you're like, "WOW! Good to see you again!....I remember you." Or an old sweater that used to be your favorite until you lost it behind the dryer and then found it seven years later. We're God's favorite lost sweaters. Of course we're allowed back on the shelf (unless we're some heinous argyle pattern.)


The idea of Hell is simply one I can't and won't buy into. It implements an idea of fear, and GUILT, both of which if you've been reading my blog are emotions are abhor.
So, yesterday sitting in the pews staring at my feet and listening to the rattle of my Granny's beads and other mourners, I couldn't help but think- do you think that my Aunt Margaret, in the moments before she died, was really asking for forgiveness for eating too many meatballs and partaking in gluttony? Do you think she was sorry for taking pride in her fire engine red hair and making sure that it was dyed PERFECTLY crimson even when it should have turned gray?? Or was she thinking, "Damn, what a great ride."


Were her "sins" really sins at all or just a part of how she lived and shouldn't we CELEBRATE them rather than worry that she's in a waiting room in the sky waiting for her "final verdict."
At the END of my life, I won't be sorry, or begging for MERCY (yes, we repeated the words "have mercy" 20 plus times in the service) because I was " a sinner". In fact, I'd like to say that every moment I was greedy for another piece of chocolate cake, or licked my lips lustfully when I saw someone's abs, the times I wanted MORE, or felt a pang of jealousy, the nights I've slept pre-maritally with someone that I loved, the times I've been PROUD of my gay friends, or my friends who had a different religion that I, or been consumed with other seemingly sinful activities... I haven't and WON'T be begging for mercy for ANY OF THEM.
So, Aunt Margaret- I hope your Chariot arrived with a glass of champagne in hand and that your return to the divine started off with one kick ass party.

What's your favorite SIN?...And do YOU believe in HELL?



44 comments:

Shaba said...

My favorite sin? Definitely gluttony.
The one I partake in the most? Envy.
My eyes should be green. I can't help but reading about all my blogger friends lives or hearing about my real life friends adventures and thinking, "Damn, I wish I had/did/could do that."

Dan said...

Lust, gluttony, sloth. They could all be winners in my book. Heck, I'll even go for envy.

L.L. said...

I'm Italian too (half) and come from a long line of "convenient catholics". My Italian family really lays it on thick when someone dies, with the crying and the praying and the guilt over only going to church when someone dies. It's such a ridiculous spectacle and it infuriates me, and I think more of it comes from wanting to appear extra Italian than even a little bit catholic!

My other Grandmother who was Irish went to church on Tuesdays and Saturdays. I asked why she didn't go Sundays, and she said it was because there were too many filipinos in the church. TWO DAYS OF CHURCH A WEEK and she still couldn't master the whole love thy fellow man thing...

So yeah, I'm totally with you on this post. My favourite sin is sloth, I'm an atheist and when I'm dead, I'll just go in the ground. Easy peasy.

Fabulously Broke said...

I am not religious whatsoever.

I don't believe in gods, deities, hell, whatever.

I just believe in being a good person, treating others the way they treat you (mean with mean, nice with nice), and not stealing or hurting anyone physically and possibly emotionally (white lies come in here).

*shrug*

People make choices in their life on how they want to live. If she was willing to let her heart fail from too many meatballs, by all means, she got what she wanted - happiness and a great ride to the end (I hope).

tmamone said...

That's why I could never be Catholic. There's nothing in the Bible about praying for some one's permission into Heaven. It's between the individual and God.

Being the self-described "token Jesus Freak of Twenty-Something Bloggers," I believe that Hell exists. However, I think for too long Hell's been used as a way to guilt-trip people into Church. I embraced God not because I was simply scared of Hell (although I definitely don't want to go there). It was His love and mercy that got my attention; that God could love a screw-up like me.

Laura said...

honey, you catholics are fucked up! Heaven probably isn't a country club and no you probably didn't need to pray in latin or whatever to the closet gay guy in the fancy robes.

Heaven is God's Palm.

you're ticket there is uncertain since no one ever came back and told us.

I don't really think of the sins as sins so much as... characteristics, though yeah any extreme of any of them is unhealthy.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Oh, note: I'd also like to make it clear that I PERSONALLY, am NOT a Catholic- if you didn't gather that. lol.

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

I love this. Beautiful!

Stephanie said...

I think I believe in hell because I can't help thinking about all the rapists and child murderers.

I do think that normal people go to heaven. I don't think it has anything to do with what religion.

I think it's hard for people to judge others the way God can.

Fav sin.... umm gluttony probably. I did eat an entire Nutella jar in less than a week.

Jules said...

I'm spiritual but NOT religious. I went down that path and turned a different direction. So no, I don't believe in hell. But I believe in a sort of karma - you reap what you sow. And karma will bite you in the ass if you are mean to others. But if you treat others with respect and kindness, it comes back to you.

And since I just ate a handful of Thin Mints, I'd go with gluttony, but I don't believe in sin either.

Sebastian said...

Don't try to relate to monotheistic religion in a modern context... it doesn't work.

There's a reason that religion is dying out -- at least in Europe. It'll take America a little while to catch up, but I am sure it'll also be phased out there too.

Shame you had to go through such an epic process though, just to say goodbye. Religion has a place, but probably not with such visceral and basic things like mourning.

The Blackout Blog said...

My friends and I often joke about hell: "They'll have the best parties/tanning... everyone interesting will be there," but I don't necessarily believe in it.

My fav sin would have to be lust. Not even the fulfillment of it. Sometimes it just fun to see something/one and lust after it. Mmm....

And I've come to find that funerals are truly more for the living than for the dead. I say make it known to your close family now that when the time comes, you want them to have a big party where they tell funny stories about you and raise no less than 5 glasses in your honor.

MarvelousMOM said...

Sorry about your aunt. I agree it is very weird to have to ask permission...

mieletcannelle said...

I guess I'm a bit of an empiracist. Show me an I'll believe? No? Then again, if Jesus ever showed up on my grilled cheese sandwhich I'd probably crap myself.. But my fav sin? I'm going with Sloth. Heaven is a couch with my butt groove in it. ;-)

theoddduckling said...

My favourite sin? Lust.

This is one thing (on a long LONG list) that makes me convinced Catholicism isn't for me. I don't we need to pray for someone to be able to enter Heaven. Especially when they were good people on their own merits.

- Kendall

belle said...

Lust, and nope, don't believe in Heaven.

This reminded me of my grandfather's funeral. He was in his 80s, died of lung cancer, priest was there, and my grandmother is SO WORRIED. During lunch after Mass, she said she would have used more readings and "pleas" if she could.

I must admit though, there are parts of the Catholic funeral Mass that are gorgeous.

KT said...

I HAVE to believe there's a place where horrible people go when they die--like people that live with no regard for anyone but themselves (like my old boss... seriously, he deserves a special place in hell).

People without an ounce of heart or soul--people that murder, hurt others, hurt CHILDREN... there HAS to be a hell for those people that hurt and don't regret it.

Even if there isn't, it makes me feel better to believe they'll "get theirs" one day--if not in this life, then the afterlife.


My comment= worth $0.02

Allison said...

I'm an orthodox Christian.

That means I believe that when you put your trust and life into the salvation that is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, THAT'S IT BABY.

None of this "pray for permission into heaven" business.

This is why I'm not Catholic. Ever. I totally agree with Tmamone.

However... favorite sin? A toss-up between lust and gluttony. They're so fucking fun!

Sebastian said...

Nothing like eating food off of your lover, eh?

Adamgv said...

Check out this new Traditionalist Catholic band that just released their first album.

From what I heard on the samples site, they sound really good.

Introducing the new Christian National Anthem: Guns & Jesus.


http://ccrg.info/cas.htm

Maxie said...

I don't believe in hell...or heaven.

My favorite sin is probably sloth... i've been doing a lot of that lately.

nicoleantoinette said...

No, I absolutely don't believe in hell. Actually, I think we need to start another email chain about religion- I have new thoughts to share!

ChinkyGirLMeL said...

My favorite sin has got to be gluttony! Yum! hehehehe...
I'm catholic too. I went to a catholic school for elementary and I went to a catholic university for college. the universiry was run by priests. Honestly, I don't think we need to pray the Rosary, I think just praying or talking to Him is enough. =)

ChasingParadise said...

My condolences on your Aunt Margaret. However, I do believe she was welcomed into Heaven (be it her version, your version, my version) with wide, welcoming arms. I believe, like you, that unless you have truly, truly effed up, you're always welcome back.

I don't believe in Hell. I can't bring myself to think of it.

My favorite sin? Gluttony. Damn those girl scout cookies are good! :)

KatieSaysSo said...

organized religion boggles my mind.

I know this. I need to believe in a God. I need to believe in a life after death for me and my most loved ones to be together. I NEED that.

Whether it is true or not....I dont know. I just know I need it.

KatieSaysSo said...

Oh and ps....I grew up in a strict roman catholic family....they hate that i think this way....

Katelin said...

i've never heard of the rosary praying the person gets into heaven. definitely a new one to me.

and i am definitely more spiritual than religious these days and i'm quite alright with that.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Katelin- I think that's how it's used during the services before a funeral....

I think, don't quote me on that.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

KT- you have a good point...I have a lot of thoughts on that, possibly for another blog post.

AdamGV-. REALLY?..really.

nicole antoinette- we have so many emails to send each other it's ridiculous.

20-Something said...

Amen sista!
Maybe this isn't what you were applying at all, but this is only the tip of the iceberg of reasons why I think religion is bullshit.
Especially the part about lying premaritally with my love(s) and being proud of my gay friends.
I'd rather live life to the fullest than live by fear and rules!

Nashe^ said...

It's definitely gluttony for me! Haha...Something which has got to change.

Religion is a tricky thing, isn't it? I'm a Muslim though there's very little that I actually practice. I still feel close to God though. Hahahaa.

E. Beth said...

I agree with what you're saying...part of why I have a hard time with organized religion. My favorite sin would have to be envy, not because I like it, but because I practice it far too often. PS. Your blog started playing Nina Simone when I came on, that's one of my favorite Nina Simone songs :)

Larissa said...

My favorite sin? Sloth.

I believe that we all go somewhere after death, but I'm not sure what that will be like.

Katherine said...

I enjoy some good lust...lust or envy. And I'll indulge in both, because I seriously doubt I'm going to burn for either (I have less a belief in the afterlife than a belief that when we die we return to a unity with something inherent to the very soil of the earth, that allows us to remain connected to those still living their lives)

Christina said...

I think my sin is definitely envy.

I don't know if I believe in hell...It's odd, but I do believe in heaven, and I think the reason why I think more about heaven is because I'm not a person who will NOT go to heaven.

I never heard of asking for permission to enter heaven, so that's something new.

Blogstiny said...

Hi fives!

*Elle* said...

Holy Shit - what about how MY GREAT AUNT just died.. and we had to do the big, long (so, so long) Italian (and therefore) Catholic ceremony. And the burial.. dear God! The rosary was the most painful.. sooo long. The fact that the priest was Indian and had a serious accent made it way more entertaining.. that AND he totally used a different voice when he was relaying something God said in the Bible. It was hilarious.. but at a funeral.. which meant laughing made me look like even more of a hell-bound sinner (since I'm one of the few non-Catholics in my family)

sid said...

There are certain things that I believe God shouldn't punish us for. And then there's things like murder, rape etc that deserves some sort of punishment.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

elle- I bet our great aunts are up there toasting some cocktails together looking down on all the mumbo jumbo us mortals put ourselves through.

Anonymous said...

Hi my Precious Chelsea Bean! I'm so proud of you, you little genious, gorgeous girl!
I loved the blog about Aunt Margaret, and yes, she did enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, with her glass of bourbon, probably,instead of champagne, and her died red hair and saying "What the Hell, I enjoyed this life"..Granny's rosary beads..That made me feel so warm, good..And, my friends who are priests would love your gay friends, and your incredible vivaciousness! They aren't so bad, and the old customs are becoming more and more relevant to me, and very inviting. When I die, I want the big Catholic Mass thing and the party after wards, complete with alcohol and boats of spaghetti, just like Aunt Margaret!

mks said...

What a bunch of flakes you all are... or maybe just in your comments. I didn't find a single one that was even funny or interesting--much less original (although each one seems to be unhealthily self-congratulatory...and half-baked.)

Sebastian's is funny.

Sebastian said...

*tips his hat*

Alya said...

I definitely believe in Hell, but the road to it (I believe) has been a bit confused and altered by people.

I WANT to believe that evil-doers like rapists, murderers, thiefs, etc will not be rewarded the same way I will. I have a strong conscience, a kind heart, and would never ever do the above things.

And I believe that I deserve to go to Heaven, and those types of people shouldnt be anywhere near it!

I'm Muslim, and we pray for a deceased's forgiveness, etc, etc.. But NOT for the permission, because its not up to us who goes there!

In the end, I believe its just you and whatever you did in your life that's the gateway to Heaven or Hell. The rest of the details depends on what religion you follow.

Aya said...

Ohh... I don't believe in sin and that someone will punish me after death.
My faith is responsibility for all we doing in this life. gluttony, sloth or Lust - it's all has implications in our this life and next lives.
And better think about life not about death I think.
if U are living not only exist you won't be too scared with death.

 
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