Friday, February 20, 2009

My Other A-Word

Two older Irish gentlemen came to the door. No, this is not some silly joke, it’s real and they were spreading the word of God. The only difference between these two fellas and some, um, other … ahhh, more “eccentric” looking guy that one might have expected to come to the door--and one in which I would’ve had to quickly fake malaria--um, the contagious kind--and would be forced to shut the door, immediately… Or I might have used the old standby: Ah, my kids are running with knives, so I really gotta goooo…

No. Instead, these guys were the kind who looked like your average grandpa. Or better yet, two fellas you would definitely sit down with and chug back a beer--or two. A nice Irish brew, perhaps.

But as someone who can’t seem to shut the hell up: call me fearless; call me looking for trouble; or perhaps just someone who likes to antagonize when prompted--who knows--but I kindly said three words to them that were honest and honestly looking to end all discussion.

I’m an atheist. (Or is that four words?)

Oooh, I couldn’t believe I said it either… and how easily it seemed to spring from my (big, fat) mouth. I mean one just doesn’t go around saying such things in good company. It’s just …well… so unacceptable.

It was on my mind and on the tip of my tongue, but my better, less mouthy side told me to hold back, don’t go there… don’t do it--they’re such nice fellas.

But then again, perhaps that’s why I said it.

Both men reacted to the a-word. The first man closest to my door shifted back on his other foot to get a better look at, um, well--atheism. And the other fella looked like he finally woke up.

Geez. All that these guys were trying to do was pass along a few pamphlets and say a few nice words, that’s all.

Now I wasn’t trying to antagonize them; the word just demonstrated who I was and what I believed… as we all are different. Perhaps I thought I could open up to these nice looking Irish grandpas. I mean, my grandpa has long since passed, and perhaps I wanted to share my thoughts--that is, exhibiting my nice, wistful side. Or perhaps it was the knowledge that few people would disagree or turn away the all–knowing, wiser, friendly face of the lucky Irish, so nice marketing--oh, my evil side.

So these fellas were not shocked or “scared” by my otherwise free spirited candor. Nor did they feel mistreated by the revelation. Instead they interviewed me and asked me if I was always “this way…”

I said yes. And I continued with the fact that I thought spirituality was a good thing for the right person. And I certainly encourage it for those who choose to seek it. I’m just not one who does and never have been.

The other fella, the one who I apparently just woke up, asked me if I grew up with religion. And I told him I did. As a matter of fact, I attended Catholic church every Sunday with my family; graduated from Sunday school at 18; and I got married in a Catholic church, too, oh my.

“So you don’t believe in a higher being”
“No, I really don’t." And I sloppily continued with, "I’m more of a concrete thinker." (Oh, forgive me if that sounds arrogant.)
The guy standing closest to me came in even closer, so close that he almost touched my nose and said in a most Irish accent: "If it’s not here and tangible, while knocking on my aluminum siding (not the effect that I think he was going for), then you don’t believe, eh?"

I said yes. I supported my thoughts with the fact that I don’t believe that after this life we go on to another…

And then the most shocking thing came from my mouth, next to speaking the words of my childhood devil “atheist.”

Well I also have two autistic children. Now isn’t that interesting? Why did I feel the need to say that? Was I just trying to demonstrate my personal beliefs?--and let’s face it, there are other atheists in the world, not just me--or was I trying to say if there was a God, then why would He have screwed me and my kids? Why would autism and other special needs exist if it proved to be a challenging life or a life of suffering? Or maybe since I never believed in Him then he doesn’t believe in me and handed me a much tougher life--so there.

How convoluted is that… No, I’m not a psycho, it’s just the product of a crazy mix of being raised forced to believe in something and someone that I just don’t--so, of course, I would sound conflicting. And nature vs. nurture theory would prove that I’m an atheist by nature. It’s just the way I think; the here and now.

But it was an interesting visit to say the least; almost blaming someone I don’t believe in for my problems …

One of the gentlemen smiled with his face still up close to mine and gave me two pamphlets and asked me to read an article--if I would--of interest to me, perhaps; and then kindly asked if he could come back and visit again--in the spring--to check in on me.

Nice fella.

Probably thinking that I’m some kind of mental case.

When they left I quickly looked at the article that he left open, it was an article with a beautiful sunset and captioned: How to make the world a better place, through kindness and love.

I smiled.

Then a few moments later as I was pulling out of the driveway I noticed an advertisement stuck on my mailbox that I had to tilt my head and squint my eyes to read: If you’ve got a problem, then let me fix it.

Ohhh. I wonder who left that one?


Tanya @ Teenautism said...

You really are fearless! Bet it felt good to drop the A bomb, though. I, too, was raised in a staunch Catholic home and as a result want nothing to do with organized religion. My idea of who or what God is is now vastly different than what I was raised with.

I think next time any of them trundles up to my door, I'll say, "No thanks, I'm Wiccan." I'm not, but it would be fun to say!

Shea's Mom said...

Nice job, Fearless. I have decided to stop biting my tongue about my atheism too. It doesn't come up often but now I trot it out proudly.

When the nice young lads come to the door though, I usually still just say, "No thanks, we are happy with our beliefs here. Good luck."

They are so young and earnest and I really don't want to spend the time to try to "wake them up".

Take care.

Torina said...

Woo hoo! A fellow a-word! I am more on the agnostic end...I think. I believe there is purpose to our lives and I believe in souls and jazz like that. Scares the Jesusers out of Christians. My dad tells me I am going straight to hell. I find it ironic that you said I am a saint (on Hopeful Parents), tee hee. If I am, then so are you!

Adventures fo a Step Mom said...

God Bless you my friend!!!