My heart is bearded with the Savior’s hair.
Please let me to tell you how this came to be.
To begin with, it happened because of faith.
Faith is the mechanism of attention that makes all things come to life. All forms of the manifest world enter this world only by passing through the threshold of faith. Faith is belief in a possibility. Belief in a possibility gives energy to that possibility. If the belief is strong enough or held for long enough, the object of that belief will become manifest. It will manifest as an amalgamation of thought, emotion, sensation, and physical substance. The qualities of the belief determine the qualities of its manifestation. Energy can manifest in any form. Its shape and qualities are determined by the attention that summons it into being.
You may have faith in the values of a television program.
You may have faith in the values of a religious deity.
You may have faith in the pleasure of narrow, baby-blue, nine-inch dildos, atheism, politics, sports, fashion, or whatever else you may choose.
It does not matter in what you place your faith. Whatever the target of your faith is, the qualities associated with it will be found in your life. You may be aware of your faiths or you may be ignorant of them. They will manifest all the same.
I grew up in a Christian family. Church every Sunday. Lutheran school from grade five through eight. Bible verses orbiting the contents of every day. I never considered myself a follower. I was just a sponge that absorbed the religion that was imposed upon me. I didn’t feel the concepts and beliefs of the religion in my heart, but I felt their weight resting on the floor of my belly, gestating. I didn’t actively empower them, but I yielded to them. So they grew.
There was childhood. School. Teenage years. High school. Then college. Then life and odd jobs after college. I never considered myself a Believer in Jesus, but in the unnoticed corners of mind, there sat Jesus under blankets of dust, his existence upheld and sporadically fertilized by the attention I unconsciously gave to him.
I didn’t know he was there, but he was. Think of the mind as a room. Throughout your life, countless forms, thoughts, experiences, and feelings are placed inside of this room. They are placed there by your own choosing, by the world, and by other people. Jesus was put in the room of my mind when I was a child. I forgot about him, but he was still there. His presence fed itself on the energy of my unconscious mind.
Forms of the mind are like plants. To feed a plant, you give it water. The water helps it grow. To feed a form within the mind, you give it attention. The more attention a form receives, the more it grows and the more its qualities seep into your life. Sometimes we are aware of the forms to which we give our attention, and sometimes we are not. We don’t notice that we are giving attention to certain forms and culling them into existence. Like if your body has a nervous twitch that causes you to occasionally twitch your left foot’s big toe. You don’t intend it. You don’t notice it. But it happens.
That’s how it was with Jesus and me. I’d been giving him my attention for years without even realizing he still inhabited my mind. Because the amount of attention I gave him was subtle, his presence in my life was subtle. But if you apply minimal amounts of effort to something for long enough, something that began as small and unfelt will eventually become palpable, sniffable, and immediate. Momentum that began its movement at the slow pace of sliding molasses will eventually accumulate the pace of a wheel steadily and surely propelling along its path. If it keeps going, it may reach a tipping point, a point where its energy increases exponentially and it bursts through a barrier.
I can’t be sure, but it is my guess that this is what happened with Jesus.
His presence in my mind continuously fed itself on my unconscious attention, slowly increasing its substance, until one day it finally burst into the manifest world and presented itself to me as the body of Christ standing before me in the bathroom.
When I entered the bathroom and saw Jesus standing there, he was naked, and his beard was in the sink, its many hairs sprinkled along the sink’s porcelain toothpaste-painted wall.
Jesus turned to face me. It was about three in the afternoon and the bathroom was well lit enough that he hadn’t needed to turn on the ceiling light. His nude body was lean, but not emaciated as you may think from all those stories that make him out to be some sort of ascetic. I had a hunch that he had once been a vegan, but had then converted to vegetarianism because he had missed cheese too much. If you can turn water into wine, it’s nice to have some cheese on the side.
He was freshly shaven, his face looking neutral and inconsequential, as if it was no big deal for the baby boy of the Lord to be cleaning up in your bathroom in 2015 AD. I had the impression it wasn’t his second coming, that he had never really left and had just been hanging out on earth for two-thousand-plus years, decidedly quiet after calming down from his evangelical days of telling stories about people living inside of needles and making pigs go suicidal by installing demons in their bodies. How is that for a vegan?
With him standing there so matter-of-factly, it didn’t seem like a big deal. It also didn’t seem like a big deal that his penis was a snake, gently gnawing on the inner wall of his thigh.
After he’d given me a few moments to acclimate to his presence, he said, “Hi, Karen.”
“Hey, Jesus,” I said, as if he were just another roommate who enjoyed shaving in our shared bathroom.
“Hey, Karen? I’ve got something for you.”
The serpent that was his dick punctured the skin of his thigh with its fangs. A drop of blood trickled down to the side of his knee.
“What’s that, Jesus?”
“It’s my body. My beard. I’ve got it here for you.”
“Will you eat it with me?”
I had eaten lunch a couple hours ago, so I wasn’t hungry. But you know when you’re at a friend’s place and they’ve just made some food and it smells so good and you just can’t help yourself? Well, Jesus’s beard shavings in the sink didn’t smell like anything, and they didn’t look appetizing either, but I felt a desire to eat them anyway. It might have been because I was bored.
I walked up next to him. We bent over, dipped our heads into the sink, and we each lapped up a mouthful of hairs into our mouths. We stood up and he offered me a paper cup of wine that had been sitting on the toilet’s closed seat. I took a swig to help wash down the hairs. It felt like tiny, centimeter-long feathers were tickling my throat as the hairs swam down my esophagus. I turned my head to look at Jesus and he was staring at me with this dumb grin on his face. A dumb grin that grins for no reason at all, a grin that exists because its possessor doesn’t need or have a reason to do anything at all, so why not grin? I suspected he’d been smiling this dumb grin for centuries, after he got over the whole martyr complex of his early days.
I went to the kitchen to get us some water. When I went back to the bathroom to give him his cup, he was gone, though his beard trimmings were still in the sink.
Except for within the inner visions of my mind, I haven’t seen him since.
I scooped his hairs out of the sink with a piece of toilet paper, took them to the backyard and put them in a hole in a tree where I saw two squirrels humping last spring. It would have felt weird to toss the shaved beard of Jesus in the trash bin, on top of the coffee grounds and orange peels.
Since I ate the beard of the Savior, it feels like I’ve got his beard dangling on the chin of my heart. It’s a subtle feeling, but it’s there. Of course, it doesn’t make sense. A heart cannot have a beard.
I still wouldn’t say I believe in Jesus. I don’t know if I believe that what I saw in the bathroom was real.
Despite this, the feeling remains. The feeling that I’ve got his beard on the face of my heart. And the memory that I saw him, his clean-shaven face, and a snake where his penis should have been, in my bathroom on a Tuesday afternoon.