A mountain and/of my socio-religious opinions.
I adore wordpress’s ability to connect people, and deeply appreciate everyone who reads the things I post on here, so if you get offended by (perhaps unorthodox?) religious opinions, maybe skip this one and come back when it’s about traveling or food… I don’t mean to offend anyone, though I also don’t think that’s quite the grave affair we seem to think it is nowadays…but anyway, that’s yet another topic.
One of our last pending items in Bogota was to take the cable car up the remarkable hill/mountain that looms landmarkishly over the city, Monserrate. Unfortunately the cable car was closed for maintenance, so we took the less nerve-wracking funicular railway, which was still a matter of ascending roughly 1,729 feet (based on the interweb’s figures for Bogota & Monserrate’s relative elevations, the actual distance must be a bit less since the base of the railroad is already uphill a bit) and watching the view go from good to great.
At the top there are some expensive restaurants, tourist kitsch stalls, and a church dedicated to “the Fallen Lord” finished in 1657. He’s quite literally “fallen”, with the statue above the altar showing a collapses Jesus struggling to lift himself off the ground. The church is a place of pilgrimage, so I inherently respect it…but I just can’t quite understand the desire to worship pain and suffering.
I hear the words about sacrifice, but I just can’t internalize the idea of someone else’s suffering making my sins…what…okay? Is the entire Third World a modern day Jesus for us First Worlders who want to drive our SUV to the grocery store to buy meat farmed in inhumane conditions on the other side of the planet?
I see the Divine in redwood trees, the smiles of proud parents, solar eclipses, orgasms, coral reefs, a child’s laughter, giving a good gift, and a great meal with friends around the table. Hell, I even see it in a smoggy vista over a sprawling city. They can keep the agony, pain, and suffering, I’ll take the relaxation of giving or getting a good massage.
But anyway. The view was indeed beautiful, and ghastly, as the mind tries to assimilate the reality of that many people living like that. And Bogota is only the world’s 25th largest city, by population. That means there are 24 other cities larger than the smog-hazed eternity stretching to the horizon below.
I simultaneously felt two emotions rather profoundly. 1: A sense of helplessness for our planet’s environmental future. 2: An iron-clad resolution to enjoy and love the world (and all its saints and jackasses) as much as I can while it all crashes and burns.