A Good Worshipper

A spiralling stained glass window inside a chapel at Thanks-Giving Square in Dallas.

I thought I didn’t have a religion, but then I realized I’m wrong about that.

I realized it when I was having a bad morning and pulled a chair out into the sun and picked up a book of short stories by a guy who’s long gone and then I started reading one of the stories and by page 2 I was feeling much better.

And then in the woods, walking with my daughter, I talked about divorce with a slow deliberate pace, which brought me to talk about marriage and into love, in which she will inevitably become entangled. She hung on my words as tight as her grip on my hand, realizing, as had I at that moment, that there was something different about the way I was speaking.

After a TV show, just like the book, I replay the scenes, I respeak the best parts, dangling them like a mobile, the pieces spinning on their own, catching the light as they come around.

It’s the same reason, I sit back in a conversation of more than 2 people. I’m doing something over there on the side of the table. I’m at communion, taking it all in, tasting it.

And, oh yes, and what deeper prayer could there be than getting up before the sun, sitting in the ritual chair and clicking out verses in the dark! Transcribing the notes playing on the inside to allow the Great Manifestation to take place, something from nothing, as miraculous as the cosmos.

Head bowed, hands working without the mind, I am in awe, like a child creating fire from sticks, a flame out of the air.

My awakening must have been in my late teens, no wait, maybe earlier, tracing curved dotted lines on a Xeroxed page of a book. According to my mother, it happened even earlier than that, on day 1 of life, when I opened a single eye to look up at her, and only her.

Yes, I have religion.

So when you catch me off to the side smiling, or sitting in the sun with a book clamped on my index finger, chin up to the sky, eyes closed, ears open, you don’t have to wonder.

You’ll know what I’m doing.