Dead Legs and the Escape from Hell

I had dead legs this morning. It was a clear sky, no wind, not too cold kind of morning, that normally means a fast ride in to work, with little effort. But I felt like I'd stayed up reading ‘til 3am. It was a slog. Some days, for no apparent reason, everything is an effort.

Last night my son was watching The Supernatural, which I don't understand. I've seen a few brief scenes as I pass through the family room; last night I gathered someone had escaped from Hell. I'm not sure, because I was focused on the more mundane task of emptying out the kitty litter trays, and restocking them.

As I navigated through the dark to the compost heap, where there are no demons likely to attack me, just the neighbour's cats lurking in hope of scraps, I wondered about The Supernatural. This show, and others, are full of action and heroics. Perhaps they are morality tales of sorts; good wins in the end. What, I wondered, do the viewers think is important in life?

True faith and heroics must seem terribly boring. Mostly you just keep pedaling on, even when you have dead legs. Nothing is supernatural about that. Heroism is Mother Theresa cleaning the toilets, deep doubts not withstanding. Heroism is doing the right thing, without a big gun, or some magic incantation to protect you. Faith is getting hurt, not bouncing back to the next scene after a thrashing that should keep you in bed for a month. Apparently Dean, or Sam, or someone, is coming back from hell; for real faith we may face death, and there is no return, no celluloid reincarnation.

If our faith was formed, or our view of faith informed, by The Supernatural, or The Da Vinci Code, how boring real religion must seem! Mother Theresa and all the other saints face The Excremental daily, but how un-cool.

Clean the toilets, be polite to the people on the bus, make way for the ambulance, do good. This is the substance of lived religion. Doctrine on its own is entertainment, a TV show for the mind, diverting us from the drab reality of life, and its occasional horrors. Keep pedaling. Funny that... dead legs and all, I arrived at work two minutes later than average. Living our faith keeps us rolling along.

Andrew Prior 5 May 2009


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