Posted on December 21, 2015 by Patricia Ann McNair12.21.2015 Journal Prompt Image from Miracle on 34th Street December 21, 2015: And so this is Christmas. Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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I don’t believe in much these days. Not in happy ever afters, or a life beyond this life, or even the priest when he says he’ll call. And if I do seem to believe in something, well, that’s probably habit or pretend. Like when I get to my knees in church and I close my eyes, my hands pressed palm to palm together and my lips giving shape to prayers, and that’s because it’s easier than not praying. And the man beside me, he smells familiar, and he helps me to my feet again and his hand holds mine and maybe that’s a reason to pray also.
‘Thank you’ I whisper, no sound and just breath. And do you know that if you say ‘thank you’ with the sound turned down it’s close enough to ‘I love you’? And the man beside me in church smiles and he squeezes my hand and then lets go.
We take our blessings where we find them.
‘I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth…’
I can hear his voice, a little cracked now he is old, and he does not quite keep up with the rest of the congregation saying the creed. And I lean into him a little, feel his arm against mine and I look at the words in the church book he is holding, like maybe I need reminding of them; and haven’t I always done that?
Was a time when I believed in everything. In little people at the bottom of the garden, in fairies leaving sixpence under my pillow when I lost a tooth, and ghosts rising from their graves one night of the year. And a fat man in a red suit bringing gifts to all the children of the world and all in a single night.
‘…was crucified, dead and buried…’
Things don’t hang together when you think about them. Like He wasn’t buried and that is not what it says in The Book and yet the priest is saying He was and the priest should know. but he just says the words without really thinking about them. The man beside me does, too. And I want to say I am not a child no more and I don’t believe in Heaven or Hell or our sins taken from us or life everlasting.
‘…I believe in the Holy Sprit…’
After church the priest stands at the door, nodding and smiling, and he lays his palm lightly on the heads of small children, and he did that to me once, or maybe that was the priest before him. And I thank him politely for his service and I ask him to drop by for a cup of tea some day and he says he will, surely he will, and ‘thank you’ he says. pressing my hand in his, and there is so much sound in his thank you that it cannot ever be mistaken for ‘I love you’.
And the man who had helped me to my feet, the same that had let me share his church book, I turn to look for him following me out, but he is not there these days and he is not anywhere, and I want to believe he was beside me in church today, but I don’t even believe that.