May 12, 2017

There was this beautiful church I would always go to when I was younger. It amazed me and stunned me, the possible secrets it may hold within the walls. I loved the white walls, especially. So simplistic in nature, yet so gorgeous and well fitting. The artwork on the stained glass was brilliant. The mysterious story behind each painting fascinated me and each time I would go there, it would tell a different story.
Then there was the wonderful pastor! His name is one I will never forget, Mike Hill. I owe most of curiosity to him, and my eventual becoming of a priest. Everyday after Catholic School I ran over to the church to meet with him to learn about the exciting stories in the bible. My child mind loved all the stories of Moses, Noah, David and Goliath, and Jesus. They seemed so exciting, like something out of an action movie. Mike loved watching me listen to his stories.
As I grew older, Mike began making me read part of the bible each night. I didn’t mind, I found the teachings of Jesus and Moses to be inspirational. Mike loved to quote obscure bible passages and have me analyze them. It was fun.
What really amazed me about Mike though, was how he could help anyone. I loved to watch people come in complaining of some neighbour who criticised their lawn or come in disputing over who’s turn it was to take out the garbage, and Mike would just say one bible passage and everyone would thank him. And occasionally an atheist would come in claiming that God doesn’t exist, and Mike would just look, smiling. And then he herded the lost sheep back to the farm within a couple a days. It was truly an amazing sight to watch Mike.
The day I told him I was going to be ordained, Mike was thrilled. But then I told him I was moving to New York. He said it was something I had to do. It wasn’t easy leaving, but I did. The transition from country life to city life was hard, but I got used to it. I had my own apartment, which meant I had to walk to the church everyday. It wasn’t a long walk, but passing the homeless was hard. It wasn’t the homeless who made it hard, rather the people who paid no attention to them. I just didn’t understand it. I usually give food and clothes to them. They don’t say much, and none have ever stopped me and talked to me, except for today. There was a homeless man who stopped me.
“Father, you must be of a kind heart. All I ask for is some bread, for God has given up on me!” He said
“Brother, I carry nothing with me, but I promise to bring you bread, if you stop speaking ill of God”
“But it is true!”
“Do not say that it is true that God has given up on you. God will always be there for you. You should be grateful that you are alive! God has a plan for everyone one of us, and you will eventually see what his plan is for you!”
I continued my walk. I did not understand how someone could think that God has given up on them. I went to the church. It did not hold the same mysteries it did when I was younger. The normal services went on. I said my farewells to the pastor and took some bread and left. Walking along the route I usually walk along, I did not see the man from before there. I did see a woman who had been there.
“Excuse me, ma’am. That man I was talking to earlier today, what happened to him?” I asked her
“Oh, him? He died a few hours ago.”
“Oh my,that is tragic news. May I ask what he died from?”
I gave the woman the bread and left. For the rest of my walk that last word stuck with me. Arriving at my apartment building, I found police officers, firemen, and a crowd of people.
“Excuse me, officer, what has happened here?” I asked.
“There was a fire here. We don’t know the exact cause, but the building went up in flames. Luckily, we got here in time and no one was injured. Most rooms were only slightly damaged, except for one room. Went up in flames. Everything inside burned down. I think it was room 216.”
The last word cast a feeling of horror and shock over me, for that was my room! I walked back to the church to ask the pastor if I could stay there. I told him the tragic story and he wished me well and let me sleep there. But how could I sleep after all I’ve been through? I stayed up thinking about God. I prayed to him every hour.
“God, if this is some test of faith, then I apologize for every doubting you, just end it! If you really do love me, give me a sign that you are here watching me!” I said.
I managed to fall asleep after that prayer. The next day, the pastor handed me a letter that was sent from my old town. Curious, I opened it immediately. I instantly regretted it, for it informed me of Mike’s suicide. I dropped the letter and began to cry. For the first time in my life, I had no faith. What God would allow this to happen to me? Me of all people! I took care of the less fortunate, and this is how he repays me! I told my pastor that this me be the last time we ever speak. He asked nothing after that. I wandered the streets aimlessly, until a man approached me.
“Father! Thank you for taking the time to do God’s wishes and teach the word of Jesus! May God be with you!” the man exclaimed. I stared at him now, marveling at how he could be so foolish. Thinking that I was doing God’s work! I did my own work! God didn’t give food to the homeless I did! But I stopped this thinking, for a strange feeling washed over me. I stared at the man, trying to figure out what it is I am feeling. But then I laughed. And I laughed. The man stood there confused, but I didn’t care. I kept laughing. And through my uncontrollable laughter, I said,
“And may God hopefully be with you too, brother!”

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