The Parable of the Singer
946 words long
If God had wanted humanity to fly, some religions might look very different.
Notes from the author:
Extremists who believe that acts of healing are acts of blasphemy aren’t just the property of religions with a concept of blasphemy. Goodness knows it’s the most populous and popular religions whose badly behaved segments have the loudest voice and the most political power, but every religion has badly behaved segments. Religions are full of humans, and sometimes humans kind of suck.
While I was in college and attending a lot of Pagan open rituals and social gatherings, I met a lot of people who, like me, identified as Wiccan, but the beliefs they held (and tried to foist on me) were... surprising, to say the least. The specific instance I’m thinking of right now is the couple who told me that healing—medicinal or magical—was always a violation of the patient’s spiritual agency. We choose, while we’re in between lives, all the particulars of our next incarnation, they said. Any experience we’re having now results from a conscious choice we made before we were born. It’s wrong to interfere with that choice, they said, by administering chemotherapy to a cancer patient, or casting a healing spell over them.
Of course, this argument has the same failure as the God’s Will argument—it cherry-picks which part of an individual’s experience we’re going to consider meant to be. The pre-incarnate patient-to-be might have chosen to experience not only the cancer but also the treatment and hoped-for cure. Or maybe they chose the cancer experience specifically to see what would happen next.
I did not make those counterarguments. About all I was capable of in the moment was saying, “Hey, asshole, I’m a cancer survivor. Screw you,” and walking off.
But then most of the people I met in college could have stood to do some growing up, and probably have since then. That goes for both the ones I met at Pagan socials and the one I met in the mirror every morning.
“You must be the one they talk about for miles,” the Devil said, all innocent tactlessness. “The fallen angel come to live among men.” The women gave him harsh looks that were as tired as they were angry. They had heard it all before; must they hear it again? “They say you bear the scars from where God severed your wings, and that He took away your voice to prevent your telling the secrets of Heaven.”
“Not scars,” the mother said, “just birthmarks. I should know.”
Her daughter wrote, with chalk on a bit of slate she always kept by her, I could WRITE secrets just fine.
To save her more scrawling, her mother added, “Not that she has any to tell.”
Her daughter nodded, but kept hold of the slate and chalk in case of further conversation. It is irritating to be constantly picking up and leaving off with a spinning wheel.
“Then you are happy, even without a voice?” the Devil asked. The woman rolled her eyes but nodded. “And the marks on your back, they don’t pain you?” Another exasperated sigh as she shook her head. “Is there nothing you wish for, then, that other men and women do have, that you have been denied, that I might give?”
“What, are you offering to marry her?” scoffed the mother. But the daughter looked thoughtful. She slowly erased her previous words and began to write once more.
I might wish to sing, is what she wrote....
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for May 12, 2017. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (946 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.
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