God if you exist then give me no sign what-so-ever, Amen

My parents forced me to attend Church on Sundays and CCD (catechism) one day a week after school.

You see in the catholic church there was no Sunday School. Well, there was, but we had it during the week…for some reason.

Anyway, years of church and CCD scared me into thinking that if didn’t say my prayers, not only would I not go to heaven but I could inexplicably die at any moment. 

So, when I was about 8 years old my Gram helped me come up with a prayer that I’d say each night. And to this day I remember it verbatim:

  • Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep. Please Bless my mom, dad, grampy, grammy, me, my sister and all my friends and pets and Otto. (Otto being my step-father who came later and was added in.)

I said this prayer nightly for about six years. I truly believed that if I forgot, it was like forgetting to take my medicine or forgetting to turn on the house alarm. I was playing with fire and if God happened to “audit” me and realize I’d forgotten to pray, well, then my goose was cooked.

When my dad was in his mid 40s one of his best friends, a religious man, died after open-heart surgery. When the man’s friends visited  in the hospital before the surgery he told them as a group that it was his dying wish that all his buddies find God, as he did, and attend Mass each Sunday.

I’m not sure about the other guys but my dad, Porkchop, honored this request. From that day forth he attended church each week and forced my sister and I to go along with him.

Dad never used the prayer book. He just stood in the back and listened. My sister and I sat there bored, staring at our watches.

And when we arrived home dad would spend Sunday breakfast explaining to my grandparents what they missed at church.

I remember thinking what did I miss? The way dad explained the homily to gram and grampy you’d think we just left a stand-up comedy show and not a boring church service.

He’d recount quips that the priest made and my grandparents would laugh too as sis and I sat there wondering what the hell we’d missed.

When I was 15 dad came into my room one Sunday morning as I was putting my sneaks on, getting ready for church.

“Do you wanna come to church with me,” Dad asked. Odd, he’d never asked before.

“What do you mean, do I wanna come?” I asked a bit confused.

“You’re too old for me to be forcing you to church every week,” he said. “If you want to come, fine, if not, you don’t have to.”

I never went to Sunday service again. Actually, the next time I set foot in a church was 3 years later for Grampy’s funeral.

Since then, I’ve only been to church for funerals. And I remember them all. Mr Waters. Cooter’s Grandfather. Glenn Winn. Gary Cohen. My Grandmother. Tai’s Grandmother.

I only know about three people my age who go to church regularly. Not attending Mass is not as Taboo as it was when we were younger. Not around these parts anyway.

I sometimes wonder if I was married and had a kid would I require him to go to church? Would I start going again for his/her sake? Who knows?

Which begs the question, Do I believe in God? Believe it or not, I do. Do I think he created the world? I do NOT. But  I believe there is something out there. Something unseen. Something bigger than just this.

I don’t think any one religion has it right, has it all figured out.

I think it was Homer Simpson who said to Marge as he was stating his case for not having to go to church,

“What if we picked the wrong religion, and each week when we go to church we’re just making God madder and madder.”

I also must admit, I still pray. But only when it is convenient for me.

I prayed this year when I was driving home from Middletown in a blizzard. I prayed last year when Dad was admitted to intensive care for internal bleeding. I prayed when Mariano Rivera entered game 6 of the World Series in the 8th inning with a four run lead.

The prayer is always the same. I don’t ask for anything. I just say the Lord’s prayer. The Our Father. I figure that one encompasses everything.

Am I a hypocrite? Is that the word?

My beliefs are pretty simple and can easily be summed up in a few sentences.

I believe in a higher power. I believe there is someplace better after we die. And to get there, it’s not a matter of who or what we believe in. As long as we haven’t murdered, raped or molested we will get there. And all our family, friends and pets will be there….and otto.

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5 Responses to “God if you exist then give me no sign what-so-ever, Amen”

  1. For lack of a better term….Amen brother.

  2. I recently went into a very long winded blog about this on mine. 🙂 I think a lot of people go through these same questions in their 30’s. I myself had deep Catholic views when I was much younger. Events have since changed my views on catholicism in general. I was a lector for a few years at St. Francis in Torrington in my late teens into my early 20’s. You quickly learn how very controlled everythings is from the top (Pope) down.
    Do I still believe in God?, You bet! It’s how to show my love and apperication to God that I’m still working on. Too me, it’s not catholicism. Could possibly be Unitarian Universalist…

  3. Not sure what your motivation for writing this was but its actually pretty insightful for an admitedly lapsed Catholic.

  4. When I was growing up, my parents never pushed religion on me, and I had no religious education whatsoever. But, as a little kid, I picked up things here and there, which sometimes led to a “kids say the darnedest things” moment. Reading your post, which I enjoyed, this particular memory struck me:
    2nd grade, eating lunch in the cafeteria with my friends, I say the word hell. A teacher overhears me and, uh-oh, I’m in big trouble. “Lauren, did I just hear you use a curse word!?!” My clueless and innocent reply: “Well, I’m Jewish and we don’t believe in Hell, so it’s not a bad word.”

  5. Oh Walt, were do I start…..

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