The next phase in my life would see a sharp decline in any religious occurrences. I continued to go to church with my dad’s family, as well, I attended a few vacation bible schools during the summers leading into my early teens, but by the age of fifteen my next attempt at using religion was just as superficial as requesting gifts of divine 4-wheelers. A trip to Silver Dollar City with my dad’s side would reveal to me an attractive girl.
I had been, to this point, more focused on football, girls, comic books, CDs, anime, sports cards, and video games by several hundred multiples than that of my focus on religiosity. I once again found myself not thinking about it at all. I am sure I had my fits of prayer when things weren’t going my way. (Tangent warning!) I seem to recall quite a few prayers about football and basketball games that went unanswered, unless I prayed for the 94’ national champion Razorbacks. If I prayed, that one saw an answer. Not that they needed my help. I know I prayed about a certain girl that I was extremely fond of, and would be for most of my adult life as well. Those prayers never saw any real outcome either. I learned to love her without having to be her mate; to this day she remains a dear friend, even though we aren’t that close any longer (end tangent). Yet, even when I was praying for these things, undoubtedly swearing my goal of perfection under the laws of God, I never followed up on any of them. I suppose I didn’t see enough results to believe that perfection in the eyes of God was a worthy goal.
I followed that Silver Dollar City girl around all fucking day. I imagine that I forewent the opportunity to ride the rides (although it must be said, this was before Silver Dollar City had any rollercoasters, that might have changed my day a bit) in order to follow this beauty around the park like a desperate stalker. “Like?” I was being a desperate stalker and knew it too. I know the girl and her family had noticed me, as I had been tagging behind them fifty paces removed for the whole fucking day. Eventually, because I was too much of a creepy fuck to actually walk up and talk to the young woman my dad’s plan to tour the cave system came to be thus ending my opportunities. We were the last tour of the day so my chances of getting to approach this girl had slipped through my fingers. Knowing that I had likely freaked her out the whole day I wanted to have another chance to break the ice the right way. This was the moment that I decided to really put God to the test. I prayed using the usual spiel of “I will go to church; I will stop lying; I will tell my family I love them; I will listen to my parents; I will read the Bible more; I will love you forever, God.” All of this, I promised if he would just give me one more opportunity.
This prayer was answered. We climbed out of the cave heading for the entrance to the park and the trolley that would take us back to our brown minivan. There she was, on the same vehicle an hour after the park had closed. What are the chances? God must have intervened. He had heard my prayer. I quickly asked my step-mom for a bit of paper and a writing utensil. I scrawled my name, address, phone number, and a quick message of heartfelt curiosity on who this finely crafted creature was. I left the paper on the back of the trolley seat in front of her, as we walked by to exit and return to our vehicle. I waited for a few weeks for some return mail or a phone call. Of course, I hadn’t prayed for anything past an opportunity, my mistake apparently, becasue, like a clever genie granting wishes based using sentence structure and homographs, no contact ever occurred. I felt like this was an obvious breach of contract on the part of the Heavenly Father, and disavowed my earlier arrangement to increase my level of piousness.
I remembered these attempts from earlier in my life. I look back at these and laugh now, after all, I only did as the preacher instructed. I suppose that if there were to be a God, he would have felt betrayed as well; although, he knew it was coming, omniscience and all.
As my graduation from high school loomed in the future, my thinking became unintentionally more secular and further from any religious sentiment. I found music during the years leading up to the end of free, public schooling, and it became my life. My music would stay the only focus, and the only part of my life that contained any real goals other than getting laid, until my early twenties. Oh sure, I ran into religious things like various funerals and/or weddings would cross my path that needed and attending the organization Young Life, which I also used for chasing girls. Outside of that, religion was gone from my life. I no longer attended church with my dad’s family, and my next phase of moving to atheism was underway.
I started to blame God for things. After that, events started to happen for me that could only be described as maturation and personal growth. Away from the dependency on God I found more of myself than ever before, but that would not be the last of my ill taste and criticism for the Abrahamic traditions. As well, my luck with any elusive girlfriend situations began to resemble adulthood too.
This entry is dedicated to Chris Legg and his family, he and I never spoke much about the philosophy of religion, but we spoke often on my first and most understood philosophy, the power of music. This talent he shared with me, and now with his passing, I hope that the music and memories he left behind will echo through the minds of those that loved him and considered him a friend, Chris Legg.