A sound hovered around my dream, but I ignored it. I was dreaming about a Dominican cake as big my pillow. I would allow no one to come between my frosty bliss and me.
Ring! Ring! Ringggggggggggg!
Ring! Ring! Ringggggggggggg!
Poof, my cake vanished. I was pissed!
“What!” I wanted to strangle whoever was at the other end of the line. I put my glasses on and looked at the clock on my nightstand.
“It’s freaking 3:00 am, who the heck is this?”
“Mags? It’s Dana!” Whoever Dana was she was very excited about being herself.
“Wh… who?” I was just confused… and mad about my missing cake.
“Dana, from Flushing High School? Ohmigod! It would suck so much if I got the wrong number. This is Magaly, right?”
I should probably lie, I thought. Then I remembered that damn promise I made at Living Simply, to go without lying for an entire week. It was my first day at it. I couldn’t let myself fail that quickly.
“This is Magaly, but I still don’t know who you are or why you’re calling me so early in the morning.”
“It’s Dana Meléndez!” She was excited about her last name too.
The image of a pretty girl wearing a long blue dress and reading a Bible during health class came to mind. “Dana? It… it has been a while, um…” I mean, what was I supposed to say? I haven’t spoken to the girl since high school—nearly 15 years!
“I know!” Geez, she still sounded excited. “Something coooooool happened to me and I told myself, Dana you need to call Magaly. I was sooooooo glad your dad works nights because it took me forever to find him and then get Jocelyn’s number, so that she would give me your number. Your dad wouldn’t give it to me, and I had to call Jud about a thousand times before she understood it was important. Can you believe the…”
Why me my dear gods? My thoughts interrupted her blabbering. Please make her go away and I will…
“Mags? Are you listening?” Her blabbering interrupted my thoughts.
“Yes.” I answered.
“Good!” She didn’t notice the hint of annoyance in my voice, so she continued. “I called you because I wanted you to be the first to know that I’ve become a Pagan Christian! Eclectic, just like you!”
“Pagan Christian? WHAT! No, no, no, no… I’m not that!” I turned on the light. I was wide awake.
My old high school friend—and I’m using the term rather loosely, couldn’t understand what I meant. She argued that in the past I’ve said that I believe in Christianity, Paganism and a bunch of other religions, so why couldn’t she believe in just two religions? I clarified, that I respect the beliefs of those who choose to be Christians. I believe that Jesus taught some very important lessons. I’ve have integrated some of those lessons into my believe system, but I’m by no means Christian. In fact, most of the Christian teachings I’ve integrated into my eclectic vault are there because they are common to many spiritual philosophies.
For instance, “Jesus taught about love and compassion as did Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Joseph Smith… so should I call myself a Pagan-Hindu-Evangelical-Mormon?” I asked my friend and cut her off before she could answer. “No, I shouldn’t. Love and compassion toward others, and myself, are big in my moral scheme because as a Pagan—and as an ethical individual—I know to treat others like I want to be treated. I want love and compassion in my life, so I try to give away as much as I can. It simply feels good to be loving and compassionate.” Even to those who wake you up at three in the morning.
I didn’t want to make my old high school mate feel bad, but I needed to make things clear: There is no place in true Christianity for someone like me. The Christian God is a “jealous God” who demands to be the only god or else. “I like Hekate, Sin, Yemayá, Morrigan, Anaisa… and many others. I believe in a Wild Old Power that possesses male and female aspects, so can you see why I can’t be Christian?” She tried to mumble something, but I didn’t let her start—the girl would probably keep me awake for weeks. “Dana, I respect my friends and family who follow the Christian path, but I am not a Pagan Christian.”