Thursday, February 7, 2008

It happened at 12

What is it about twelve years old that brings such insights. At twelve, your brain must grow like a son-of-a-gun. You look like a kid. All the nobs and bumps on your face grow at different rates. Maybe you have braces and you don't make easy eye contact with adults. Adults still talk around you as if you don't understand them but now you suddenly do.

Twelve was when I stopped believing in God. I used to remember the moment but I don't anymore. Just that it happened at twelve and it was a reverse of Saul on the road to Damascus, one minute I believed and the next I did not. I doubt there was a blinding light just a feeling of emptiness and the click of the world making more sense.

I remember a year later spending the night with my best friend Sidney. Her Dad was on a date so we were alone in a house out in the woods. We were in bed telling stories when someone started walking around the house shining a flashlight in. We were terrified. The light from the flashlight swung wildly around the living room. We were in a loft bed-room looking down.

Sidney clutched my hand and started praying wildly out-loud. "Oh Jesus, Jesus, save us." Even in my terror, maybe because of my terror, I thought how wonderful it would be to cry out to the Lord with that sincerity. If we were murdered she would be praying to God while I would be looking directly into the eyes of my murderer. I had God envy and decided to start believing again.

For about two weeks I held belief in my mind while my heart really saw Sidney clutching my hand and praying. It was her faith that had touched me and gave me the strength to hold off my own reality for that length of time. I couldn't do it for longer than two weeks though -- hard as I tried.

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