(Continued from yesterday.)
“It’s what’s in your heart,” Bart said defending Sammy.
“Yeah,” Sammy said. “And I believe with all my heart.”
“What about you Bart?” I asked.
“I go every Sunday for church and Sunday school too.” Bart said.
“But how do you know if there is a God?”
“It’s faith,” Sammy said. “You just know.”
“Is that how you feel?” I asked Bart.
“That’s it,” Bart said, “Either you got faith or you don’t.”
“How can I get it?” I asked.
“By going to church,” Sammy said.
“You treat it like catching a cold,” I said. “I know you two exist because I can see you, feel you, and hear you.”
“You need help,” Sammy said.
“You’re in deep trouble with God,” Bart said. “I don’t even know if I should be here with you.”
“Look you guys,” I said. “I think it’s great that you know. I want to know. I want to know how to know.”
Both looked at me as if an infidel.
“You act as if I’m different. I’m the same person today as I was last week,” I said. “I’m just being honest.”
“If my mom knew this about you she’d never let you see me or come to the house again,” Bart said.
“Me too,” Sammy said.
“Suppose you guys didn’t think your Dads were your Dads,” I proposed. “How would you go about proving it one way or another?”
“I’d ask,” Sammy said.
“Me too,” Bart agreed.
“What could either of your fathers offer as proof?” I said.
“I’d believe them,” Sammy said.
Bart stroked his chin. “Are you trying to get us to deny God?”
“No,” I said. “I want you to help me believe in God.”
“Maybe that’s for a preacher,” Sammy said.
“It’s for Rich,” Bart said.
“Thank you Bart,” I said. “That’s a start. I just can‘t have somebody tell me to believe. Do you remember the experiment Mr. Mahaffey did with salt water. He said salt does not dissolve. You said it does. You dissolved salt in water and then he poured it through filters until it was pure. The salt collected in the filter. You had to have proof.”
“This is making me feel creepy,” Sammy said. “Satan may come for you tonight.”
“Let’s go back to our fathers. You would ask your fathers, right?” I said.
“I think your Dads would take you by the hand and lead you to a mirror and say, ‘See how we look alike.’ That’s proof. I want God to show me proof that I am one of his children by taking my hand and showing me how we are alike. We reflect our God like we reflect our Dads. I don’t want to be like my Dad. If God wants me to be like him, he will have to show me how. I don‘t do bad things, but I feel I‘m bad. I don‘t feel like I even belong here with you guys, but look at you guys when Sammy‘s Dad said something about window peeking at the Johnson‘s, a vision flashed in both of your heads. You were both to the point of drooling.”
“That’s natural,” Sammy said defensively.
“Why does the Bible say not even to look lustfully upon a woman than,” I asked.
Sammy and Bart were clearly uncomfortable. We laid down and soon fell asleep. I don’t know how long I was asleep before needing to urinate. Quietly I lifted the flap of the tent and instead of taking advantage of the invitation extended by Mr. Tuttle to use the bathroom inside I walked the extra few steps and went into the woods. On my way back I looked into the sky wondering if the displeasure of God had been incurred by blasphemous reasoning or words.