On Being Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. On Feeling So Strongly About This; Like Prayer

All consideration to my Israeli brother at Friday services; my Christian (real) sister in Saitama Prefecture; Faruq, who prayed every night alongside of me in Faisalabad, Afghanistan; but I can ‘t and I tried, I just can’t. 

I hate the opiate of the masses slander, always thought Priest, Sabbath, Cult were silly even when I was silly.  It’s just, even with my dead wife’s ring and lock of hair around my neck wherever whenever I go someplace good – – talisman-ed down like that — I’m too often feeling like all those teens I’ve read about and interviewed, “ Nah, I’m not a gang member.  I mean, I associate with them, we’re cool and all. I respect them, they respect me…”

So sorry, so so damn sorry – – why, when I go to a gospel meeting do I feel like I’m being jumped in?  I can’t sing. I can’t go under water.  Mostly because I don’t want to bear false witness; and mostly because if I choose one I’m relegating all the others; and mostly because I’ve read Major Barbara and I, sir, am no Marlon Brando.

I’ve looked at Hitchens, Hawking,  the portable abyss (G-d is deceased), Dorothy Day. I’ve squeezed many hands during the Serenity Prayer (and they’ve squeezed back, no matter how clammy, calloused, broken, blistered I was).

But mostly, I can’t let my guard down enough.

So I’ll drink three cups of tea, admire the grace of that beautiful hijab, kneel in prostration willingly at the drop of a…, kiss a Talmudist’s footnote on the page, close my eyes, rock back and forth, but remain apologetically, lonelily, pathetically, respectfully, fitfully, boringly, agnostic. Or worse.  Amen.

Oh, God; now I can close my notebook and peacefully listen to twelve people, in full voice, sing Divine Romance and Marvelous Love, in the dead of night, on the road, on my way home.  Amen.


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