This has been a week of disparate religious experiences.
I didn’t see the proselytizer who dropped this flier off at our house Saturday, but Christopher said he was friendly enough. Pardon my irreverence, but I couldn’t help cracking up at this newly restyled Jesus. His coiffeur suggests that He’s just emerged from Supercuts, and there’s certainly no crown of thorns mussing it up. And His beard! Not the slightly scruffy facial hair I remember from Baltimore Catechism days.
It looks like He is wearing tinted contacts, too, to give his eyes the nice, light hazel cast. But just like when marketing execs stripped the Brawny paper towel guy of his mustache and made years and pounds vanish from the Quaker Oats fellow, I’m not a fan of this makeover. I find that I miss the old brooding, dark-eyed Jesus when I look at this tidy image.
Then we had the new Pope this week. I’m irrationally disappointed that the conclave did not choose a cool black nun to be Pope, as the writer Elmore Leonard advised. I realize it’s hopelessly contradictory to prefer age-old images of Jesus but favor swapping out the doddering male Popes for a woman of color. Traditional Jesus and His do unto others motto seem just fine, but where the Pope is concerned, business as usual may not be so great.
The third religious experience came in the form of a visitor this morning, not someone at the door with a flier and a promise of everlasting life, but a brilliantly patterned, 7-inch alligator lizard in the shower.
How the creature got there, I have no idea. A Native American tradition might suggest that the lizard arrived as a spirit teacher, here to enlighten us about the need to be able to adapt quickly, to begin a new life, and to face change with confidence. Lizards are also supposed to teach us that all beings deserve honor and respect, a possible interpretation of the verse from Proverbs 30:28: “You can catch a lizard with your hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces.”
I’m sure the lizard was a benevolent caller, because even though I didn’t have my glasses on and was greatly startled to see it slither beneath my feet in the shower, I didn’t fall down in fright and break my neck. David coaxed it into a brown lunch bag and carried carefully outside, where I hope it found a nice breakfast of crickets.