Osmel Almaguer

Havana graffiti,

“In Jesus Christ is the truth” – at least according to a sign on a door I pass by daily on the way from work. That message is written in brown crayon on the deteriorating entryway wall. Its strokes seem impetuous, giving the idea of having been scrawled out in a moment of passion.

“Faith isn’t a good business for those who believe unconditionally,” I thought. But on the other hand, look how good it’s worked out for the neighbors. The owners turned their home into a ‘house-church’ and received money from the a Church. So now, instead of a hovel, they have a fixed up house of the lord there on the block.

One time when I passed by that same house with the sign someone tapped me on my shoulder. As I turned, I saw the smiling face of Alexis, a guy I had met 15 years earlier in a literature workshop – back then he was still interested in becoming an “important writer.”

Over the past 15 years I’ve run into him periodically. Every time our paths cross he’ll update me on his life, but to be honest — at the risk of sounding smug — he would seem more and more disoriented, floundering through life without finding his way.

Now though, I was in for a surprise. The house with the sign was his. He had converted to Christianity just over a year earlier.

He shared his new ideas with me, speaking with such passion that compared to his, my ideas — which I didn’t dare to share, due in part to the excitement and partly to my confusion — seemed lackluster and uninspired.

“Since I met the Lord my life is filled with meaning,” he preached.

He looked so confident, so peaceful and so sure that my skepticism, and the torment caused by my constant questioning of everything, made me again ask myself some very important questions.

But, well, it’s not easy to trust after you’ve turned into someone suspicious of everything.


osmel

Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

One thought on “In Jesus Christ Is the Truth?

  • Osmel, you broach a profound point. Religious faith can be a very positive thing. It can make this lackluster life seem meaningful and even beautiful. There is nothing inherently wrong or non-progressive in this.

    The problem comes if and when non-progressive economic interests use religious faith to delude and manipulate the people politically. This is what is happening in the United States, where many people have been deluded into believing that Jesus Christ and the Republican Party are one and the same. These deluded people support a military machine that kills hundreds of thousands on a regular basis.

    Still, we each must strive for personal fulfillment and joy within the short space of our life. It is a fact that enchanted fiction is much more satisfying than mundane truth. Small wonder that Alexis is so happy with his new-found story.

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