Honest Doubt

I am a third year English Teaching student and I love Star Wars

Image of Long Story Short Award - 2022
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"There lives more faith in honest doubt,
Believe me, than in half the creeds."
A. L. T. - In Memoriam

When I was nine years old, I lost a little Superman action figure and Dad told me to pray so that I would find it. He said that the Spirit would point me in the right direction if I listened really close.

I made everyone kneel in a crooked circle on the rug to pray as a family because I thought that God mostly listened to families and never little kids. Only Mom joined me and she held my hand. The polyester carved depressions into our knees because I was praying so long and so hard and so bitter. I finished, amen, and stood up.

After a few minutes, I found Superman under my pillow, in the second place I looked before we all prayed and where I knew Superman hadn't been. I played with him for the rest of the night and I believed that the Spirit put him under there so that I could find him real easy.

It was five years later when Dad told me he put it there to teach me the power of prayer.

Dad taught me to drive when I got older in both body and mind. A stick-shift, he insisted as much as Mom and I tried to fight it off. Because it would make a God-fearing man out of me.
"Trust me," he said, "One day, you'll thank me."
I learned the stick in double the time my friends took to learn their automatics. I passed the driver's test on my third try. Dad told the clerk that I learned from the best.

I applied to colleges around then, and prayed again to know where I should go. Dad told me to keep listening and I would know for sure. He was writing the name of his favorite on little sticky notes and leaving them around the house, preceded by the message, "Follow the Spirit!"

I chose the one farthest from home when I didn't get an answer. Dad said he didn't think the Spirit would give me that answer. Not in a million years, he kept saying. That and I didn't know how God worked at all.

Sometime between semesters I got arrested because I was drunk driving or drunk and disorderly or just drunk. I spent a night in the tank, smelling only B.O. and tequila then throwing it up and doing it over again in a cold metal toilet bowl.
I called Mom to bail me out and she sent Dad. All the way home he kept saying I needed to pray for forgiveness, that God had to forgive me for that because he never would.
"I'm disappointed in you," he said a lot. More times than I listened to.

Then, I got married. I didn't pray about it, though. I just chose without anybody's help. I moved away, stopped calling or texting or anything. I must've broke Mom's heart, but I don't know. Part of me thinks her heart had been broken for a long time before that.

I stopped praying after that. I think I still believe in God, still faithful at least way down deep where I was first molded. The parts that I made myself must've forgotten how to believe. I didn't pray for my wife in labor and she turned out okay. Didn't pray for my sister's cancer and it ate her up until there was nothing left but faith and pity prayers for her. I didn't even pray for Mom when she passed. I just knew God would let her in.

The last time I prayed was when Dad was dying. He called me from the hospital and asked if I could come visit him sometime to say goodbye and I love you and other words and sentences for times and places. I went alone, left my wife and son at home, kissed them both and told them I loved them.
At Dad's bedside he asked me if he would get into Heaven, like I was the gatekeeper.
I said, "Sure, Dad," and patted his hand.
He died eventually and I dropped his hand. While his dead hand hung in front of me, I decided to pray. On my knees, at his bedside. By his body, but not over it.
I prayed that if he went to Heaven, then, God please send me straight to Hell. Maybe I deserve it for thinking that anyway. Or if I went to Heaven, I just didn't want to see him there. I prayed hard not to see him again.

While I prayed, I wept.
But, I don't think they will answer me.