The earth shook, the sun was darkened,

and beautiful flowers rained from the sky.”

I have never been one to stand by without becoming involved.

This has resulted in bruises.

So when I pulled my cab into the intersection where another driver was being kicked and punched while he lay curled up in a ball on the street, I was not unprepared and walked in willingly.

Around him were five Latino youths of various ages. They had apparently been arguing over the right of way since his cab and their car were askew in the street. I jumped out and strode directly toward them, as if I were their father…

All right! That’s enough”, I shouted, thinking they would heed my parental voice…and they did…they all straightened up and looked at me.

Unfortunately, the downed driver saw this as an excellent opportunity to get up and throw another punch, and they began to beat him again.

What I hadn’t noticed was a sixth boy who circled around to my right. I caught his presence in the corner of my eye, and turned my head toward him just as he punched me square on the jaw, loosening two teeth. I turned full toward him and said:

Why, you little bastard.”

I was a foot taller than he was and probably raised up another perceptual foot in indignation, because he backed away from me as if he thought I was going to crush him. Instead of crushing him, I turned and went back to the cab to do what I should have done in the first place.

I called for the police on my radio. But I couldn’t get through…too much static.

The young men apparently thought I was getting a gun, since all they could see was me rummaging on the floor of my cab, reaching for the microphone. As I raised my head and looked out through the windshield I saw them all pile into their car and drive away up the street; and, simultaneously, the cab driver I had stopped to help, got into his cab, where his passenger was waiting, and drove up another street…driving a little cock-eyed, like a keystone cop.

I got out and stood in the middle of the intersection, incredulous, that in sixty seconds, I was all alone with two dislocated teeth. I carefully pushed the two teeth back into their sockets and turned around to see if there were any witnesses. There were none, sort of…the entire altercation took place in front of St. Anne’s Church where a row of stone Apostles were lined up, along the entire width of the church, above the door.

Beyond the displaced teeth, I was not injured, although I may have been a little delirious, because when I looked up at the Apostles, I could have sworn they were laughing.

That night I called Saint Anne’s and asked for a face to face confession with the priest…I didn’t want to be in any spooky little booth with their secret sliding doors and veiled voices. They told me to come right over, and I was led into the priest’s office. He was Irish, dressed in black with a shock of white hair…I remembered driving him in my cab. I told him about the fight and the Apostles laughing at me. He grinned and said “Yes, they’ve done that to me on occasion.”

He was warm and welcoming, and tried to put me at ease. I began to unload thirty years of sin, waywardness, guilt, remorse, anger, resentment and regret. I told him of my father, and of abandoning the church and God in anger over my mother’s death. I told him of my marriages and divorces, and children that I had lost. I confessed my  confusion, ignorance and despair; finally telling him, that I thought God was out to get me. It went on for a long time, during which he sat patiently, nodding and listening…but he smiled at the get me part.

I did not.

At the end of my litany, he led me through several prayers and gave me absolution.

Then he said through his Irish brogue:

“My son, I can forgive you…and I can forgive your father…but only you can forgive God.”

When he said this, I told him, very quietly, for I must have lost my voice, that I didn’t think someone like me had the power to do that.

Go into the church, and don’t try to pray.”

I must have looked amazed, since I expected ten or more years of penance.

Just sit in the church and talk to God…as if he were an old friend, that you have been estranged from…and have missed.

He is waiting for you to return.”


~ by theoxherd on July 26, 2012.

One Response to “Ichadon”

  1. now, he really was a priest. Again, the ‘like’ button is insufficient.

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