I am a Christian, but alas, I find I have more in common with the dancing, laughing Sufi poet Rumi, who said, “‘My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there,”-than I have with a thin-lipped, judgmental Calvinist and her “sinners in the hand of an angry God” diatribe.
I have more in common with Lao Tsu who wrote, “It is a playful thing to approach that which is unknowable” -than I have with right-wing ‘Christian’ leader James Robison, who said food stamps are of the devil.
And as I wrote and illustrated The Lord of the Beasts, I realized I have more in common with this newborn baby than I have with the confident, competent professional I once considered myself to be. As I worked on the painting I kept thinking, “She looks just like I feel when I have to learn new software.”
You have a soul and it wants to dance and sing and love and laugh; it wants to be free to be silly and to try new things. You think you have no soul? Here’s what Rumi says about that:
What if someone said to an embryo in the womb,
‘Outside of your world of black nothing
is a miraculously ordered universe;
a vast Earth covered with tasty food;
mountains, oceans and plains,
fragrant orchards and fields full of crops;
a luminous sky beyond your reach,
with a sun, moonbeams, and uncountable stars;
and there are winds from south, north and west,
and gardens replete with sweet flowers
like a banquet at a wedding feast.
The wonders of this world are beyond description.
What are you doing living in a dark prison,
Drinking blood through that narrow tube?’
But the womb- world is all an embryo knows
And it would not be particularly impressed
By such amazing tales, saying dismissively:
‘You’re crazy. That is all a deluded fantasy.’
One day you will look back and laugh at yourself.
You’ll say, ‘ I can’t believe I was so asleep!