I’m going to relay a story about being idealistic and fickle, and about how all humans are this way, because I was as a boy.
When I was 9 or 10, I would pray the following prayer every night before falling asleep: “Jesus, please forgive my sins and the sins of the world so we can go to heaven and not to hell. Amen.” I had this down to a mantra I could spit out silently in roughly a second or so. It had to be this fast because you didn’t know when death would happen. It was a nightly thing. I also said it during the day. I wouldn’t say I was in fear for my soul, so much as this activity was a comforting one. No one really taught me this. I was just a weird kid who pieced things together. Differently.
The following scene takes place in the Cope’s yard, which eventually became our yard. So the Copes had this enormous rock in their front yard. It was probably 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall, maybe 2 feet wide (if that), and 3-4 feet long, but for us it was like Mt. Olympus. We would play “King of the Mountain,” with all that entails: healthy competition quickly devolving into literal fist fights.
Well. Young Steven said something that just lit me up. If I recall correctly, and I’m pretty sure I don’t, he said or did something to Josh. Or maybe it was the perennial debate of whose dad was the biggest, strongest, baddest hombre. Whatever it was, it was enough to ignite righteous indignation within me. So righteous, that I prayed, “Jesus, please rapture your children. NOOOOOOWW!” This probably would have been more comical had I said it aloud, bit I did it through gritted teeth, under my breath, and with clenched fists.
There is so much going on here, it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s fascinating I desired God’s unstoppable rapture judgment on my friend-turned enemy, only to pray my mantra at night, and have my friend back the next day. Jesus was this invisible, but powerful force to use in blessing and cursing. The moral of this story is that children, and humanity by extension, are evil maniacs not to be trusted.
A lot of the weird things I thought as a kid probably would have been gently corrected (or looked at in horror? Who knows) had I said them aloud. Take the following as an example. Adam and Eve were the parents of all humanity. They were also white. Why? Because everyone I grew up with was white, with a few exceptions. Why did they look different than me? Well, I made sense of it from art and my fuzzy conceptions of this new thing Mom and Dad had just told me about called “sex.”
When a man loved a woman very much he would stick his scrotum in her vagina and they would have babies. That, I later found out, was not the case. So, color.
Adam was a very expressive individual. He and Eve had had a few, white children. In his short time on the earth, Adam had discovered dyes and paints. Being the creative man he was, Adam decided to paint his penis yellow before he lay with Eve one day, and this is where the descendants of Asia come from. And so with black, brown, and red skin.
Had I told this to my parents or fourth grade Sunday school teacher (I forget who this is now; maybe the Robillards? Or the Bryants?), and they actually heard my entire explanation, I don’t know if they would have laughed or gently corrected me. Suffice it to say I took bits of knowledge and ran with them. Far, far away.
People are strange.