God slipped away quietly, during third period physics class (thing)
|My mother was born in 1948 to a devout Catholic family. She was raised with Catholic schooling and Sunday mass. The same year, my father was born into a Jewish family. Instead of first communion like my mother, he got a bar mitzvah.|
For my brothers and I, growing up in our household was often confusing. Neither one of my parents gave up their faith. They loved each other but refused to convert for each other. Instead they just agreed to disagree. For the four of us children, we were made to attend Mass on the second and fourth Sunday of every month and then go to the Synagogue on Saturday of the first and third weekends. At the age of thirteen, our parents gave us the option of Judaism or Catholicism.
My oldest brother Joshua chose Judaism. Marcus picked Catholicism. My younger brother Anthony chose Catholicism too. I, however, being the black sheep radical of the family, chose neither. Instead, I chose not to define myself except possibly as agnostic.
To say the least, my mother was less than happy and chose to disrespect my choice. While my brothers were allowed to attend the service of their choice, I was still forced to alternate between the two. My Catholic grandfather was certain I was possessed and following Satan. My Jewish Grandma was bitter over only having one grandson follow her faith and openly blamed my father for marrying a woman outside of his faith.
In all truth, I made my choice because I had just always known that I wasn't trusting what the people in either church were saying about this God character. No one could get their story straight. One day Jesus died on the cross for me and was my Lord and Savior and the next, Jesus was never a savior at all and only God was almighty.
My father seemed to take it all in stride. When I had announced my decision, he came later that night to talk to me. He told me that, while he did not agree with my choice, he did respect this. He will never know how much that conversation meant to me.
On my seventeenth birthday, I got a phone call from my mom telling me to leave school and take a bus to the hospital. "Don't ask questions now, just go," she told me.
Upon my arrival, I was told by Joshua that my father had been in a horrible car wreck in the interstate and wasn't in good shape. He was slipping in and out of consciousness. The event struck me like nothing else before. That night, I asked Joshua to take me to the Temple. I prayed there like I had never prayed before. For the first time, I actually believed that maybe God was hearing what I was saying.
I began to understand how it is that you cannot possibly understand or appreciate what you have until it's taken from you. Through everything, I finally realized what my father had meant to me. Here was the man that had taught me how to read and write, how to throw a baseball. The man who taught me how to say "you lazy bum" in Yiddish to insult my brothers. Here was the man who taught me how to drive, told me how to kiss my first girlfriend, told me that eventually, everything in life works out okay and everyone ends up happy, laying almost lifeless in a hospital bed. I prayed to his God, to my mom's God, but I still didn't know what to think. If there truly was a God, I didn't understand how He could do something like this, I just knew that I wanted Him to help fix things.
My dad got worse over the next week or so. He went on a respirator full time and stopped responding to us. I went to visit alone with him one day after school. I held his hand and just told him everything I was thinking. I poured all my feelings, good and bad out to him. I admitted breaking the kitchen window when I was eight. I told him about the time Anthony and I took his Firebird for a joyride while he and mom were out of town. I kissed him on the forehead and said, "I love you. Please die soon."
The next day at school, I got the call. God slipped away quietly,during third period physics class. He raised his arm up as if to wave good-bye and then he flat-lined. God died peacefully at age 52 in a hospital bed. My only regret from my time spent with him is that I never believed in him until he had already passed through my hands.