worship – root is old English 1300: “weorpscipe”…”worthiness or worth-ship” which is to give worth to something.
Last week, while I was piling wet clothes into a dryer at the laundromat, a black woman interrupts me: “Can I talk to you?”
I look up from the laundry basket, knowing I am going to be preached to, a track held in her hand. I don’t want to listen but give her one of my ears. She points the track in my direction which I do not take.
I tell her I’ve been raised in christianity and am happy now I no longer believe. She tells me what the bible says. I say: “I don’t believe the bible. Other religions say they have the truth too.” I make my sermon short and sweet; something like I’m free of guilt and fear of hell and feel I am more loving now. I lean over the laundry basket, spontaneously, and hug her.
I am white. And now think to myself how innocent and pure we all are as babies.
How I grew up learning to play the piano; one of the few songs I memorized was I am Not Worthy. (of love, according to the bible, being taught we are born in ‘original’ sin.)
This senior black woman, close to my age, says, “thank you for letting me talk to you.” I think to myself what does worship mean? I look up its entomology: “to give worth to something.” LOVE of myself. Then compassion for others.
NATURE is my CATHEDRAL. Babies are my divine example.