When Faith Makes The Scene

My relationship with God has always been awkward, because I was never really certain as to what I was supposed to be looking for. It’s a signature of the human condition that compels us to define relationships, even those that can prove least definable. And as humans, we want something out of the deal.

When I was young and impressionable, I was seeking answers to the biggest questions the same way most young people of my generation did: By watching movies and listening to music. I had it figured that George Burns was God, John Denver was an Apostle and Ozzy Osbourne was the Antichrist. Looking back now I wish I’d been right. Shit, a God who smoked cigars and had a great sense of humor, an Apostle who sang folk songs and a devil who penned Ironman, one of the greatest rock songs ever? Sold!

When I was a teenager, I negotiated all manner of adversity by by dialing up the high and mighty hotline. It was more about kitsch than catechism. Mix too many adult beverages . . . put in a call. Bend a rule . . or maybe even a law . . put in a call. Get myself in a bind with a girlfriend’s girlfriend . . put in a call. Find out girlfriend or girlfriend’s girlfriend was late . . . put in a series of calls.

Adulthood is where I stopped calling on God because I didn’t feel like dealing with a busy signal. This is how adults survive. When we ain’t listened to in a way we deem appropriate, we look elsewhere: Financial advisors, general practitioners, insurance agents, mechanics, bookies, bartenders and therapists. Mediation comes at a price that we’re more than willing to pay because we’re assured that someone is listening.

Getting married meant churching, for a while, but the arrangement was never a fit for me because I was never much for country clubs. And that’s what church felt like, with all the networking and gossip mongering. I knew I could get more religion out of a bottle of wine or a baseball diamond than a Sunday morning in church.

Of course, it all comes down to faith. And faith is one of those things that isn’t found in a book or a house or a hymn. No doubt, these things can serve to inspire you, but they’ll never make you believe. No, that kind of thing usually makes the scene when we least expect it.

It’s been twenty years since I woke up in a hospital bed after having undergone a thyroidectomy to remove two separate cancerous growths. I remember feeling super groovy, as if Jimi Hendrix had just supplied me with some magical feel goods and chased it with a song. Needless to say, I didn’t give a flip about the tubes that were sticking out of me or the fact that I was sharing a room with a guy who was hacking up a lung. Before I could start doing the math on what came next, I passed out again.

Waking up at night in a hospital room is some truly creepy shit. For most people. But I guess I always had a morbid streak and a genuine curiosity for that kind of thing because I felt nothing but peace. And yes, the primo stock that was running through my veins helped. But it was more than that, because now my brain was working plenty well enough to remember back to that morning. The pastor at the church I’d stop attending had come by before my surgery to talk with me. He was a good man and I was genuine in my warm greeting. We talked for a while, about baseball and kids and steak houses. But I remember one simple exchange.

“Are you scared?”

“No, I’m not. Everything’s cool, it’s really cool,”

“Good, that’s good,” He examined my face as if searching for the lie, and not finding it.

It was as if I had waited all my life to feel the kind of peace I did on that morning. Uncertain as to what came next, and remarkably okay with that. I chatted with the nurses as they rolled me through the corridors until we arrived at a frosty operating room and I was introduced to all the players. And then they were serving me up a tonic to help me sleep and then I cracked a few jokes just to let them know it was paying off handsomely.

Something mystical was riding shotgun with me as I began to tiptoe through the tulips, because that’s when David Gilmour and Roger Waters started doing their thing. As my eyes grew heavy, I could feel the dumbest smile taking hold of my face as I muttered sleepily “Great fucking song . . .”

If there’s more to faith than that? I don’t need it.




48 thoughts on “When Faith Makes The Scene

  1. As expected, great writing! I keep thinking if I could only come distantly close to that. Simply wow – onto the topic. Faith is many things. It’s complex, bold, and trust. It’s heart, thoughts, actions, and a response. It seeks understanding without proof – and church as we know it is not required.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are playing my song! Two years ago I had an episode that landed me in the hospital. I was completely paralyzed and I remember being incredibly comfortable and at peace. I was expecting to die. And I was OK with it. My family and the doctors however we’re not. I go to church and I socialize with friends there but I have a problem with the Bible. I believe in the belief of God. But that is faith. Religion is man-made, and I mean men. Women were not considered much more than chattel at the time. I once asked our Rector that if there was an Old Testament and New Testament when were they expecting to write the New, New Testament. He was not amused. Our religious overseers keep changing the rules. I no longer voice my opinion. But I enjoy the company of my friends from church.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I completely relate to this Pam. It’s that peace when you really do not know what is coming next but you are in this quiet place and there is no doubt, no fear, just peace.

      That’s what people forget, that the Bible, like all religious documents, was written by men. And as such, it was more a rule book based on their beliefs than a living testament to some deity.

      Faith is unshakable.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great song and better than great post on inspiration. We all pull it from where we need to pull it. Doesn’t really matter the source. Thanks for a peaceful post, Pilgrim, and I’m glad the thyroidectomy worked. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ok. Random thoughts. First off, Steve Jobs’ last words were supposed to be, “Oh, wow.” I’m thinking I want to see what elicited that “oh, wow” from a man who was pretty visionary for his time. Second, sometimes I wonder if I could be calm in the face of impending death. I waver from “of course” to “no way.” Your reaction–drug-induced or no–I think is the way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Hey, wherever and whatever that dude saw is what I’m about when it coms time to tango with last call. His reaction was akin to getting a shorefront property for cost. Sold!

      I think it’s context and perspective, CK. We really cannot imagine that scenario from here. But from there, it’s just different. You’re sort of in that “Well fuck it, let’s see what this is about” scene of your movie. So yanno, the rearview ain’t taking you back.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like your operation attitude. They do have some cool drugs. Might as well crack jokes.
    I’m so not religious.
    Raised cathaholic, I saw clearly, at an early age the hypocrisy of the religion. I have faith nothing has changed.
    I designed costumes for a Showtime movie, “Our Fathers”. It was based on a book ” “Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal”, by David France.
    It was about pedophile priests, the downfall of Cardinal Law (Flaw) and the end of Boston’s beautiful cathedrals (sold off to pay awards to the victims).
    In prep, I read the book… hardcover … 666 pages. I could barely hold it.
    One day, in shock reading about nuns burying baby bodies they had given birth to, impregnated by priests… I dropped the damn thing on my big toe, right foot. It broke. (my toe, not the book) I did the entire movie with the broken toe, wearing sneakers, the right one one size bigger than the left.

    I have no faith that god caused that book to fall. I do have faith that the horrors of religious hypocrisy made me burp, and drop it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your experiences are not short of fascinating, Resa. Broken toe notwithstanding, you have so many stories to tell.

      The Catholic church scandals are sickening, and so far reaching that we will never know all of it. But the protection these scumbags were afforded is repulsive.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. B,

    What a poignant, yet purely Marco post. With those injections of humour and wit and wonderful turns of phrase that are just so wonderful to read. Your honesty makes it all the more perfect.

    It’s really funny. My mother was done with the church, having been raised in those little villages where the nuns can do whatever the fuck they want with the kids and call you mother a whore because she left her alcoholic husband to better care for her kids… I could go on. So. When my mother insisted we do our First Communions and Confirmations, I am, today, totally surprised. Out of the three sisters, only the middle one had her kids go through the same shit. Me and the youngest? We had the baptism and figured later on, if our kids want to explore, then they were welcome to it.

    I can’t get into the business of religion but I have a belief that the basic message is love, no matter who the CEO is. Honestly, most times, I feel faith has nothing to do with religion whatsoever. I have to agree with Pam regarding any religious writings. All written by men, for men. That just do sit well with me. Lots of the messages are good but lots of ’em are way too open for interpretation.

    I feel like I haven’t commented properly to give this post its worthy dues but I know you know that I know what a wonderful thing this was to read.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Q

      What a beautiful comment, right from the get, thank you for the lovely words and you know how much I appreciate each and every one of your sentiments.

      Yeah I think that’s how many parents went, and even more so nowadays. I was baptized in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC, and that’s why there is a special place in my heart for that church. But yanno . . I see churches as beautiful structures, but answers? Not so much.

      For me, God and faith are mostly woven together because I have a fairly simplistic sense of it all. I imagine a higher power- so God gets to be my starting pitcher for that. And then it becomes a matter of believing in something beyond the mortal world, and I imagine the construct that way.

      Oh, you commented more than just properly. It was beautiful, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • They are from the heart and I know you do as much as I do.

        Yeah. I think they figure it adds a level of safety for our souls… Hell, I had Austin baptized by the hospital’s chaplain before his open-heart surgery at 10 days old figuring any extra prayers would be good. When he was released he was officially baptised by our local priest who was the kindest man, ever. He also precided over his funeral in the dead of winter, way far from his parish. That kind of good man – like the one who visited you bedside, are the ones who make a difference.

        I don’t even really use the word God, feeling that I haven’t earned any right to. I’ll call it the Universe, or the powers that be – maybe it’s my lack of conviction to all my supposed teachings received.

        Well then, I am glad you feel so.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think it is the presence of that kind of good that makes me believe in a higher power. Because let’s face it, it’s hard to feel positive about the world most of the time. And then they remind us of the good.

          I use God as my term, not because I need it to be accessible, but because I have this idea, sketched out, rudimentarily so, about what a higher power might be. I am probably so far off the mark but so what?

          I do.

          Liked by 1 person

          • You definitely have a point there.

            And there is nothing wrong with that. I think I don’t use it because of the bible thumpers and Jesus this and Jesus that. I just can’t. I’m happy for them that they feel it. I think I am still in that grey zone.



            Liked by 1 person

          • I am dubious as to how many people really believe in God. I think it’s more a “Shit, I hope I’m right!” thing than a firm belief. And the Bible thumpers, them most of all. I don’t think they truly believe, which explains why they usually end up doing stuff that is antithetical to all their blathering.

            Love is good.


            Liked by 1 person

          • Again, you have a point there! My father never believed in it until he was on his death bed… then he figured it might be good to have a conversation with the “Big ‘Man'” Bible thumpers are the worst. They who are holier than thou…. but we’ve had this conversation already 🙂

            Love is great.


            Liked by 1 person

          • I get that. I think it’s when you take your inventory for the last time and go . . couldn’t hurt.

            Bible thumpers doth protest and proclaim too much. I have a keen distrust for anyone who carries on like that, because it means they’re hiding something. Phony shits, they ain’t fooling anyone.



            Liked by 1 person

          • Yeah, exactly! Can’t hurt, surely!!

            Bible thumpers are definitely the worst. Mind you, I have a friend who is one and regularly posts scripture and stuff. It seems to be coming in handy for her to deal with her husband’s recent stroke. I’m glad for her. And she’s not one who pushes her stuff on you so, have at it, I say.


            Liked by 1 person

          • For people who need that, I say go for it. If it helps them deal, it’s necessary to be all about it. And that’s the thing, people who push it are really just looking for verification, as if.


            Liked by 1 person

          • Right. I am all about people with genuine faith in a higher power, whatever it might be. Those are the people who don’t flaunt or proselytize, they simply are.


            Liked by 1 person

  7. A few years after my open heart surgery a co-worker needed the same procedure. He was terrified and asked how I got thru it. I told him that I kind of enjoyed the recovery. I occasionally joined a group of bike riders, one of which way my heart surgeon. I told him about enjoying the recovery and he said. “Of course you did. You were taking 12 percocets a day.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It seems to me that “faith” is a word like “spiritual” that means entirely different things to different people, and that’s perfect, as it should be. Whatever works for you. We’d all be better off evolving our own definitions rather than being force-fed religious dogma. Live and let live!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t “watched” the news in . . . I can’t remember how long. I read up but I don’t miss the watching of the news.

      And spirituality is where it’s at. I need to wade into those waters more.

      Liked by 1 person

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