Tuesday, November 08, 2005

odd, hackneyed, and amateurish but published without apology

“Dave?”

“Yeah, Chip.”

“You don’t look right.”

“No, I imagine I don’t.”

“Why not?”

“I’ve been up all night, Chip.”

“All night? Is something wrong? Is it the kids? Is one of them sick?”

“No, everything’s fine. Or at least, everything’s the same as it was yesterday. Nothing has changed. Everything’s the same as it always was.”

“So, why couldn’t you sleep? Are you going to be all right for Sunday school?”

“No, I think you’re going to have to take the lesson today Chip. It wouldn’t be a very good idea for me to be there this morning.”

“I’m getting worried, Dave. What is it?”

Dave pauses a long time, resting his hand on his chin, his arm on his other arm. He removes his hand from his face to speak.

“Chip, when you teach the kids, do you ever feel like a huge liar? When they come to you and say, ‘Are you sure there’s a God?’, and you say yes, how do you feel? Do you ever lie awake at night and realize that something in you cringes when you say yes, because you don’t know, and you’re scared, just like they are?”

“Oh, jeez, Dave, is that all this is? A little doubt? Oh, man, you had me really freaked out for a minute there. I thought something was seriously wrong.”

“So you don’t. You don’t cringe and you don’t feel like a liar?”

“Well, no. I mean, you know we’ve talked about this before, Dave. God is the one thing, the one constant I’ve had since I was a little boy. When Marilyn came out and left me and the kids, I knew God was with me. When the business went under, I could bear it, because I knew God was by my side. Even now, especially now, in your moment of doubt and pain, I feel God here. I am not afraid, Dave. I wish you could share this feeling. I know you will some day.”

“I feel neither doubt, nor pain, Chip.”

“Don’t lie to me Dave, you know I don’t think that’s right. I see the despair on your face. I see the exhaustion it’s caused you.”

“You do see the despair, Chip, you’re right about that. But I feel no doubt and I feel no pain.”

“Then you’re lying to yourself, not me.”

“So you believe in Noah, and Moses, and Jesus. And not just in them, but that they spoke to God.”

“Of course, you know I do, it’s the basis of my whole faith. Of our whole faith.”

“But you didn’t believe your neighbour when she said she spoke to God.”

“Mrs. Polly, with the seven cats, you mean?”

“Yeah, her. She said she spoke to God.”

“Well, no. I mean, she also told me she recorded with the Beatles, so no, I didn’t put much stock in her talks with God.”

“See, that’s the thing. I know she talked with God.”

“What do you mean? Why would you believe her?”

“I don’t believe her. I don’t have to. God Himself told me.”

Chip paused, and blinked, and moved his torso slightly backward, as if a strong breeze passed through. Dave took this as Chip’s turn in the conversation, and went back to his story.

“So perhaps you can understand why I was up late. I saw God, Chip. I did. I truly did. I have no doubt, Chip. None. It’s not possible.”

“Oh...my...what...I mean, I believe you. I do, I have to. But, you’re so sad. Are you sure it was God you spoke to? Where’s the joy, Dave? I mean, this is a miracle, isn’t it?”

“It is. My prayer was answered. Truly. I prayed for certainty, for clarity, and He heard my prayer.”

“Dave, the joy in my heart...it’s...it’s starting to overwhelm me. Are you just tired, is that it? Where’s your joy, Dave? This is, I mean, this is biblical!”

“I feel no pain Chip. I asked for my pain to be taken away, and it’s gone. I feel no pain. I feel almost nothing.”

“It is a miracle! I am a witness to a miracle! Praise God! Praise Jesus! Praise the Holy Spirit! Dave, your joy!? Where is the joy that surely must have rushed to fill the void in your heart!”

“You haven’t asked me what His answer was.”

“That He is God, the King of kings, and he loves you! There can be no other answer!”

“You’re right. You’re exactly right. The doubt is gone, and I know what you say is true because God told me Himself. That He is Lord of love, and I am His holy child.”

“Praise God! Dave, where is your joy?! How can you not feel this rapturous joy?!”

“Is that all you need, Chip? A loving God?”

“That is all I have ever needed, and all I have ever known, and I am vindicated on this day, this holy, miraculous day! But you, Dave, your despair. I am afraid for you. Your sorrow verges on blasphemy. You have seen the face of God. I ask you again, where is your joy?!”

“You’re going to die, Chip.”

“Well, what difference does that make? Of course I’m going to die. But there is God’s love. With certainty, I have the protection of the love of my eternal God!”

“Chip, look. I have seen God, you’re right. And I have felt His love, and He has spoken to me. And he told me...”

“That it is true, the prophecies are true!”

“That there is no heaven.”

Chip paused. His face showed anger, briefly, then calm.

“You’re a liar, Dave, a damned liar.”

“There’s no heaven, Chip. There’s the love. All the love you want. Incredible, and rich, and immense. But that’s all there is.”

“You’re a damned liar. You have always been a damned liar. You will be in hell.”

“No, Chip. I will be obliterated. As will you.”

“What you’re saying is madness! My loving God would never do such a thing! That God would be an evil God!”

“But you still have the love, Chip. That love is yours until the day you die. That hasn’t changed. He told me. You should still be happy.”

“You are a liar! A damned liar! You are in league with Satan!”

“I’m not lying, Chip. This is what I understand now. I feel no doubt and I feel no pain. But love is not protection. It is only love.”

2 Comments:

Anonymous tim said...

Chip. *snickers*

Beautiful piece of writing!

5:19 PM  
Blogger DC said...

Chip said, "When Marilyn came out and left me and the kids, I knew God was with me. When the business went under, I could bear it, because I knew God was by my side. Even now, especially now, in your moment of doubt and pain, I feel God here."

I'd be suspicious if God was around when all these bad things were happening. Put two and two together as it were and see the common denominater.

--

Very nice.

I wonder if there is a next life, and Christians actually do go to heaven, what they will look forward to, pray for etc, to keep themselves feeling holy, special etc.

1:59 PM  

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