The Beplatitudes

You’ve all read them. Pithy statements about the meaning of life, how to be kind, how to find joy, blah blah blah. Blah. “Your most prized possessions are your unspent years”, “Happiness is like a butterfly…”, etc. etc.
I particularly like the “author unknown” ones, which generally means someone has spliced some words together from the ether and doesn’t want to quote themselves.
There’s nothing wrong with these things. They are good for coffee mugs, scented candles, even the occasional T-shirt (though I still prefer the one that says “You’re just jealous because the voices are speaking to ME!”).
But when they come from someone who is supposed to have a deeper understanding, well, they just piss me off.
It’s like going to hear the Dalai Lama speak and having him come out with tra la pop sayings. Or having the Pope say something like, “God loves you”. Or a famous scientist say something like “You are a caterpillar, growing into a butterfly”.
I know, if you love something, let it go, but there really should be a restriction on letting some of these sayings go. Especially if you are a person who provides guidance.
I’m thinking of a minister I knew once. Every word out of her mouth was some sort of prayerful platitude. I found it made me feel distinctly unChristian, as I cheerily contemplated ways of making the noise stop. Yes, I know, you have to speak to your flock in ways that they can understand, but all of us were over kindergarten age and well past the age of believing in unicorns and magic bubbles. We sat, in various states of discomfort, on our wooden chairs, being told cheery slogans instead of thoughtful commentary.
Maybe I expect too much. It’s probably because I am still agog at the mystery of a religious calling. As a nurse, I know what a vocation means. It invades your DNA. Now, even though I can no longer legally call myself a nurse, I still react as a nurse.
But I know, also, that sometimes my nursiness has limits. Sometimes I don’t feel the magic, you know? Sometimes I react with an ugh, or an I don’t want to help, not this time. And I wonder about ministers and priest and such and how they manage to make the magic every service, every contact. Do they?
When I was a nurse, I took my profession very seriously. I regularly upgraded, studied constantly, tried to be an expert in the field if I could. I was probably insufferable, but at least I was well-informed. I expect the same thing from other professions, especially those that involve a vocation. So I expect religious leaders to rise above the coffee mug sentiments and pull out something wise. Some do, and they reach me, deeply, and make listening to them worth the uncomfortable seating.
Some, like this lass, just drive me to write murder mysteries where people are pushed off cliffs while the murderer recites the quote about the road less travelled. And tosses the T-shirt after the body. Or maybe a coffee mug. All the while hollering, “And they said you can’t take it with you!”

1 thought on “The Beplatitudes

  1. Crowing Crone Joss

    someone in our area has been posting bits of bible verses on light posts. One I drive by every day is “seek the Lord while he may be found”. i chuckle every time I read it and ask “why is he playing hide and seek?” not quite along the lines of your post but it made me think of this.


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