February 10, 2011 was the day I gave my mother’s eulogy at the mass to recognize the 5-year mark of her passing. It was also the first time I’d been in a church in a while. I’m not religious. I have nothing against people who are into it. I get the need for community. I think churches could be thriving right now if they would stop being so judgmental, and welcome everyone as they are. In addition to the churches keeping out my gays and frowning upon my desire to have cute little mixed babies like Heidi Klum, I am turned off by the idea that the Bible or other stories are taken literally. God didn’t literally take one of Adam’s ribs to make Eve. It’s a metaphor, people. However, I love the idea of constantly observing and evolving our thoughts on morality. Going to church gives us a time to reflect on our actions and explore our ethical positioning. Also churches generally promote selflessness and serving others to serve ourselves. I couldn’t agree more. Helping others is essential to personal fulfillment.
I was thinking all this while I sat through my mother’s mass. I gave my eulogy at the very beginning then the mass started. It’s all sort of a blur. The best part of giving the eulogy was that it inspired the priest to mention my mother in his homily. Normally they just read off someone’s name but in this case he talked about how I had said so many nice things about my mother and that she was proud of me. He went on to explain that she was in a better place. I would say maybe she’s in a better place and nobody really knows what happens but metaphorically I’ll take it.
As far as the process of writing the eulogy and giving it, well, I still wish I had been able to give it at her actual funeral. I’m glad I had the opportunity to do it because my mother deserved to have someone speak about her awesomeness. The whole experience challenged my nerves and forced me to recognize the present like taking a zip-line across the rainforest. When you zip-line I imagine you forgo your fears and focus on the beauty of the powerful scenery in front of you. It was the same. I had to let go of my fears: What if what I wrote was too short? Too long? Too superficial? Too emotional? What if I passed out in front of the congregation?
None of that happened and I managed to do it. After the mass was over I received a lot hugs and kind words. ‘Thank you for sharing that with us.’ ‘That took a lot of courage.’ ‘You’re so brave.’ ‘Your mother would be so proud of you.’ At the time I didn’t know how to make sense of all this attention. I didn’t know how to accept it confidently either. A friend of mine always says you have to be ready to accept the love people are giving you. It’s great advice, but I’m still working on it.
Taking on flattery and overwhelming energy is something I struggle to understand, especially since starting Mama Quest. Narcissism will corrode your soul and empower your ego. At the opposite extreme paralyzing fear of failure to the point of not following an individual passion isn’t admirable. I like to take myself out of the equation like they did in ancient Greece and ancient Rome. The Greeks and Romans didn’t believe creativity came from human beings. They believed creativity was this divine attendant spirit from this distant unknowable source. The Greeks called these Damons. The Romans referred to them as Genies or Geniuses. So I’m not brave, but I certainly have a brave Genius.