“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness visible.” – Carl Jung
In Greek mythology, a chimera is a fire breathing female monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tale. According to Merriam-Webster, it’s also “a thing that is hoped for, but in fact, is illusory or impossible to achieve.”
I have spent countless years chasing impossible illusions, sifting through both the banal and the grotesque in search of evidence of the “thing that is hoped for.” Stories of miracles are my spiritual Pokémon cards – a doughy dad that summons unexplainable Hulk-like strength in order to free a child pinned under a station wagon; Joni, the teen who learned to not be depressed about her quadriplegia after God shows her how to paint kittens and landscapes with her mouth; one of my employees, whose pituitary tumor was cured by the power of prayer.
I’ve always been a seeker. . .and hungry, a combination that once caused me to attend a prayer meeting with some people that I met at Burger King. I was 19. The meeting took place in a grim apartment devoid of pictures or furnishings. We sat on rickety folding chairs that formed an uneven circle in the boxy living room. Prayers were recited, and then people started hurling themselves toward the center of the circle while speaking in tongues. After an indeterminate amount of time, the tongue-speakers returned to their folding chairs, and I was offered a ride home. It was kind of like being abducted by aliens, only without the probes.
People who have a deep faith are fascinating to me. I am drawn to them in the same way that I am drawn to the purported magic inherent in four leaf clovers, St. Christopher medals, and the severed paws of rabbits. It’s the reason I carry a tiny plastic statue of the Virgin Mary in my purse. These things are good to have around.
Just in case.