Esteban brought out a bowl full of mangos this morning and said, “eat ’em, or take ’em home with you”. Over the last three days in Garzal and Nueva Esperanza we’ve been visiting with families, celebrating new houses and new babies, and enjoying the abundance of fresh crops. Esteban didn’t need to say more as Pierre and I rolled up our sleeves and took on this important duty of the day – no need for the mangos to go to waste. “You know”, I said to Pierre as I chuckled at his current state of being, bent forward, the bottom half of his face a shiny orange mess of pulp while rivulets of juice followed gravity’s pull down his arms and off his elbows, “mangos make me believe there is a God”.
Saint Thomas of Aquinas, a Catholic theologian and philosopher from the 13th century, came up with the quinque viae, the five ways or five proofs of God’s existence. Strangely enough his didn’t include mangos, but fortunately, he never meant for these five truths to be ultimate, but rather an introduction to how he understood and defined the existence of God. I figured since I already have my first proof, I’ll try my hand at philosophy and attempt my own quinque viae, my own explanation of how I understand spirituality and what I mean when I speak of God.
1. Mangos. (proof found here)
2. The moon. I lose myself in the moon. It pulls me, it quiets me, it changes me. It’s that thin space that one of my favourite philosopher’s talked about. It’s that space where everything makes sense in the world; I realize that I am just one more speck of sand amongst 8 billion, but that each animate object is interconnected. We don’t just co-exist on this earth, we’re dependent on one another. What you do matters.
3. Wireless (and sometimes even wired) communication. Cell phones. Telephones. Internet. Even recorded music. I don’t get it. And maybe if someone was able to explain it to me it would no longer be one of my proofs of God, but for now it’s like magic. Amazing.
4. The metaphor. It’s fantastically amazing that we have the capability to manipulate our concrete environment, through language, into something abstract and unreal – creative imagination which allows us to design a different reality. One that doesn’t exist yet. Today’s reality doesn’t have to be tomorrow’s, we have the ability to change it.
5. Fuzzy green caterpillars. I had a run-in with a gusano peludo, a hairy worm, this week in Garzal. While lying on Don Salvador’s floor chatting I felt something graze my neck. When I reached up to swat it, thinking it was one of the swarm of mosquitos that had descended upon the village recently, I felt a sharp stinging on my knuckles of my index and middle finger. I jumped up rather confused as the stinging reminded me of nettles, but I was indoors. But it was a fuzzy green caterpillar that my fingers had grazed and within a short period of time I knew this was no ordinary caterpillar. My fingers swelled to the point where I considered slicing open my skin to relieve the pressure, sure that if and when the swelling went down my skin would flap in excess. The pain was absolutely awesome. I could not believe the extent of inflammation caused by a mere brush with an immaculately coiffured creature, that through tear-filled eyes I thought it necessary to photograph the event. More importantly though, the plague of mosquitos that were pestering the town in hordes, leaving people pock-marked and forcing church to be cancelled? I didn’t even notice them.
6. Bonus proof: The existence of the bag in the photo below (and all other hilariously incorrect English print). Power to the woman’s Jesus. There is a God.