It is said of the human species that in times of uncertainty, metaphorically or literally we have a tendency to ‘run home to mama’. Much as I am appalled by the notion, there may be some tenuous thread of truth here. The Catholics assert that if they have a child up until the age of seven, he is theirs for life, however far he wanders.
I sometimes find myself strangely soothed by the familiar liturgy of the Church of England, despite having abandoned her years ago when the holes in the clothing became all too apparent, but the sonorous intonations of the Kyries and Agnus Dei still shine their light on the mustier and least visited parts of my soul. I still view the flummery and theatrics with suspicion but I found myself reflecting on such things having begun Barack Obama’s beautifully crafted ‘Dreams From My Father’. Here, it seemed was a man who from an early age developed, sometimes painfully, certainties and behaviours contradistinguishing him from others in similar positions, from the perspective of someone trying to find himself against a backdrop of tribalism and prejudice. Having a non-practising Muslim as a father and allegedly praying irregularly at the mosque may be at odds with his ‘I’m no Muslim’ allegation. Additionally, in a recent interview he asserted:
‘I believe there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people’.
Very modern. And perhaps even right, as long as doublethink is permitted and we are still able to return to our own small hoard of resonant connections unimpeded.