Knock, Knock, Who’s there? Disorder! Disorder who? This order has come to an end.
Does this knock-knock joke (totally improvised by the way) remind you of anything? I was driving on the way to work yesterday and on the radio I heard this dramatization of one of the oldest stories ever told, the story of Peleus’ wedding in which all the Greek gods were invited except the goddess of discord, Eris. And when they heard those three knocks, all the gods froze. They knew something very very terrible was going to happen. And it did. The goddess offers Peleus a golden apple, or in other versions she just threw it on the floor, and the script on the apple said, “To the fairest of all.” Now obviously that did it; that shiny apple caused more disorder than ever. In a hall full of deities, and goddesses, divas, and celebrities, which all think and believe to be the fairest, one must indeed be called the fairest. So, how can one judge the fairest? Based on what standards? Based on the standards of beauty? But which beauty, the fake or the natural one? Based on the standards of accomplishments, but what is an accomplishment? Is it a façade that would create the illusion of a most successful person or is it a quiet but the most intense self and spiritual fulfillment? It was time for a new order it seemed. New standards for judging the beauty, new standards for judging the accomplishments, and it did not include any of the illusive standards set by Greek gods. That wedding signed the ending of their era.
And these new orders and new eras come and go but we just don’t notice them; we are too busy to slow down and notice them. I happened to hear such knocks twice in my life, that I can remember, and in both times I was not alone, so others heard them too. Indeed, tremendous changes occurred in both times; changes that not only I did not expect and obviously did not welcomed, but that despite all the discomfort these changes caused, they did opened my eyes to see the fake life I was living in. A fake life that felt so comfortable, like a dream that you do not want to wake up. Both times that I heard those knocks I was with my children. The first time I heard them, I was driving my car and all my three children were there with me. We were all so happy discussing my oldest daughter new project, a magazine for teenagers by a teenager. In that moment we heard three knocks on the car’s window, and we all froze. What was that? That could not have been a stone, could it? It was not just one knock, there were three soft and clear and loud and symmetrical knocks. It was as if someone was outside the window of a car I was driving at 80 Km per hour. That was strange and freaked us out. But, humans are humans, we like to distract ourselves, and never accept horror. If it is too much to handle for our brain we say, “Oh that’s a joke. That’s a fake story. That’s a hoax.” Anything but the truth. And that’s why the goddess of discord has to knock three times to make sure that we wake up and face the reality. And as it always happened, my life totally changed. It took a 180 degree turn, and it happened all of a sudden. For some reasons I liked it and I did not like it at the same time. I liked what I was getting from this new point of view, but I did not like it that others around me could not see it and could not support this change in me. How could they not see the reality? I questioned. Nevertheless, I did continue my path. The first change was in my views toward religion. I was such a devoted Christian, until that moment. But just a documentary on the History channel shook my belief system over night. One must say that must not have been such a strong belief system then, since was shaken so easily with just one documentary. I would answer that knowledge has a stronger effect in you. I was such a devoted Christian (Roman Catholic to be more precise) that my ex-husband used to make fun of me saying, “Take a break, will you? Even the priest takes a Sunday off now and then.” But I never took a Sunday or even a minute off from Jesus. I wore a cross and I asked Jesus for guidance and I was somehow protected. I looked good among other colleagues teaching in a Catholic High School. After the first divorce, (I did not have time to even blink) I got married again, with a wonderful person, with a good job and good manners. He was not Catholic, in fact he was a Jew, but he was conveniently converted to Baptist just before dating me, otherwise I would not have accepted to meet with him at all. Yes, I was that much of a fanatic believer and all seemed perfect in my eyes and other people’s eyes. But those three knocks did the trick. They brought clarity to my life. The night I watched that documentary I cried, and cried, and cried. Jesus cannot be fake; he cannot be an imitation of previous legends or myths or older religions. He was special, because I believed so. That night I fell asleep with one thought in my mind, only one thought, “God, please tell me, was Jesus your son?” And that night I heard a message. It was a voice that I could hear but never see the face; voice that was authoritarian but also soft, not scary. It was a voice that I trusted and always guided me in my life. A voice that unfortunately, or fortunately, depends on how you see it, I can no longer hear in my dreams. The voice said, “It does not matter who he was, but what he did.” And that was all. I felt a bit disappointed with this answer. Really? So he was not the son of God? Then what is it that he did? It was time to read the bible myself. I started to see that what was emphasized in Church’s readings and masses on every Sunday was more like a fake flow of believing that you are doing the right thing. But what was I doing right? Reciting Hail Mary and Our Father? Or, that I was going to church every Sunday, even though that took so much time, which I could have spent with my family and enjoy the time with my children instead? Was that the right thing to do, sitting in church for one hour a week, listening to what the priest had to say to convince me what was right or wrong? Did I not have a brain of my own, a reason of my own, eyes of my own, heart and feelings of my own? Did I need someone to tell me, “Do as I say, but do not do as I do?” I started to question everything. My motives, my time spent during those hours with people at Church, questioned their motives, their fake smiles, their grandiose air around them for being special. I questioned my students’ believes and motives to come to Catholic High school when their behavior was nothing different from those of dealing drugs and associating with gangs and prostitutes. Their vocabulary, their attitude, and the way they wore the “perfect catholic high school uniform,” all showed a different reality. In fact, some of my students were involved in drug dealing and gangs, and some were killed during that year. We mourned their deaths, we held masses for them, but we still refused to open our eyes that we were living in a fake paradise. I could not handle this anymore and I call it a quit. I quit my perfect job and took a long vacation with my son. Everyone that knew me called me crazy; my family, my husband, my fake friends, my colleagues. Yes, everyone who was blinded by the fake life called me crazy and upon my arrival from my long vacation recommended that I see a psychiatrist. I answered, “Gladly, as long as you see one at the same time.” They were all afraid to do so. Then they said that they will take me to court and take away my children, take away everything I owned and I had worked for, my house and even my clothes, and the right to see my own children. And I said, “Gladly, I accept the challenge. I cannot wait to tell the judge my verdict of the story.” And at that moment tables turned, and I got back all that was mine, and fake charges were dropped. But this bad feeling did not go away. I questioned, “Why was I left alone to fight this war of the fake and illusionary perfect life?”…..to be continued.