One day at a time.

One day at a time.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Swallowed by the Devil Whole!

Growing up in a small, relatively Catholic community, I would sometimes hear someone say (usually about someone dead) "oh she was a saint!"  Like all good compliments it could be a little back-handed in nature.  You were a saint: a nice, clueless well-intentioned person.  Or perhaps a naive, good-natured person who was often conflict-avoidant.  Sainthood was often bestowed upon enablers far and wide.  At other times, it was merely the sainthood bestowed upon those eulogized.  You could have been a real jerk among the living but someone, bless their heart, was going to stand up at the funeral and say what a "saint" you were while a good number looked down and murmured.

So why call this blog saint humans?

Until I was about twelve, the only experience I had of saints were Mary, the mother of Jesus and Anne, Mary's mother.  I was born on the feast day of the immaculate conception so I had heard the story about Mary's conception just shy of twenty times (bonus points in Catholic trivia if you know that the immaculate conception is not about Jesus!).

I knew I was not a Mary-type, at least how she was portrayed in the stories, nor was I a Saint Anne.

Enter my aunt who purchased a book all about saints.  I started reading, landing pretty early on with Joan of Arc.

Whoa!  No demurring there, no passive politeness.

From there I read about the sometimes gory death details.  Other details were just a little quirky.  One saint had a pet lion.  Another, was cured of the plague by a dog.  Another is said to have been "swallowed by the devil whole."

Point being- sainthood need not be a backhanded compliment.  Scratch the surface beneath the stories and some strange stuff comes up.  Real saints and prophets are not often adored in their time.  And many of our heres were perfectly flawed.  What made them extraordinary?

Their oddities and failures alongside the judgment of others did not stop them from fully living their life and bringing truth into the world.

A saint human is counter-cultural, fully-present, bold, and brave.  Often misunderstood.  Sometimes loathed.  Commonly derided until they succeed.

But what would you rather have said at your memorial, "she was so nice" or "The devil swallowed her whole!  And she survived!"

Gulp.

I'd rather the latter, every time.  Then, perhaps write a country song about it.  Is that so much to ask?

Like Albert King sang it, "everybody wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die."


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