free stats Carmen's Web: Keeping the Faith
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Keeping the Faith
My mother bought a new dining table a few weeks ago. It bothered my father a little bit because 1). we're financially constrained since he's practically supporting crazy aunt right now and 2). it would mean that he would have to take apart the original dining table and store it somewhere and while he's always been fond of manual work, the hassle didn't really seem worth it to him. He didn't make a big fuss about it, though, because my mother told him that the table reminded her of the one my grandmother used to own.

I wish I had a video camera the day they were moving that table. Between my father barking directions at my mother and my mother barking directions right back at him it would've made for great comic relief if that nasty depression ever hits me again. I could have helped them, but then I really wouldn't have enjoyed the show.

When I had had enough of laughing I went to try to help them and they yelled at me to leave them alone. It was the only thing they agreed on anything as they were trying to move that table. See what happens when you try to be helpful????!

I let them be and went into the basement to get some work done. At one point I heard the doorbell ring and then my mother telling me to get it. They had ordered pizza and were at that moment in the process of moving the top of the table. I went upstairs, paid for the pizza, swiped a slice, and then heard screaming from their bedroom. My father had somehow wedged his fingers between the table and the headboard of the bed and if one person had moved he would have lost those fingers. I quickly ran to the headboard and pulled it away from the wall, giving him enough time to get his fingers out before he let the table thump to the ground.

He spent the next couple of days thanking me for saving him. He kept telling me that he owed me a big one and he'd always remember how I was there to save him. Now, my father has never been one for the dramatics, so he must've really thought he was going to lose those fingers.

Of course, it wasn't just me who saved him. It was God. God put me at the right place and the right time. Usually when my mother yells at me from upstairs, I never respond. She has a tendency to ask me to do very silly, unimportant things and so if I just ignore her for a little bit she'll forget what she needed. That time when she called me, however, I went upstairs immediately though I'm still not sure why. Had I ignored her the way I usually do, I wouldn't have had enough time to help my father.

My father told this story to every one of his friends on the phone. God was looking out for him and this was proof.

Thanking God has been my father's mantra since he went on the pilgrimage three years ago. He came back a changed man. He seemed much more at peace with himself and the world, became much less judgmental, and seemed to realize that he did a lot of stupid things throughout his life. While he's always been wonderful to my mother, he realized that he did actually put her through hell sometimes and has been making up for that everyday.

Everything that happens now happens because of God. When I got this teaching job last May I had come up after a really bad day at my previous job. I walked in through the door to my father welcoming me home and asking me how life was. I muttered something and he said, "you should be happy!"

"What's there to be happy about?" I grumbled.

"Everything! Didn't God just give you a job you were desiring?!"

My first instinct was to tell him that God didn't give me this job. That I worked really hard for YEARS to get to this point in my life, but I didn't want to have a theological discussion with him.

Yesterday my father thanked God again. I've been sick as a dog for the past week. At first I developed laryngitis, but now I've got a full-fledged cold that's kept me home for the past two days. I REALLY wanted to go into work today, just to spite some of my students who have probably been praying that I call in sick, but figured another day at home would do me good.

So my father last night tells me how he brought home four flu shots over the weekend to give us for the winter season. I've never taken the flu shot and have been doing quite well without it. He didn't give it to us during the weekend because he forgot. He said he was really happy that he didn't give it to me because I probably would've blamed the flu shot for this current illness, therefore putting the blame on him as well. "God was looking out for me".

I can't remember the last time I thanked God for anything or even thought that God had anything to do with the fortunes or misfortunes in my life.

No, that's a lie. Five years ago I went back to Egypt to break off my engagement. It was a horrible time in my life and I felt like I was being torn apart inside. I wanted peace and so one day I prayed for it, just asked God for some peace. I didn't want Him to fix my life, I just wanted to stop feeling so bad. And after I prayed I felt instantly better. That had never happened to me before. When I returned to NY I started looking for a job and within two weeks I had been hired at a reputable non-profit. Everything was falling into place for me and it was the first time in my life that I felt a connection with God.

But for some reason this connection got lost somewhere between then and now. I don't think that I've stopped believing in a greater power, but I know for a fact that I stopped believing in religion. All religions. I admire people who have faith, envy it almost because I wish I had something to believe in. I continue to fast because it's the one thing that still connects me to my faith, I pay alms, I believe in the fundamentals of being good, I still believe in the big picture. But any form of religiousity, be it Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, makes me cringe nowadays.

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Thoughts shared by Carmen at 5:49 PM
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Who: Carmen

xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

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