"I T Rust In You"
When I was about ten years old, my bible school teacher cast me as "Doubting Thomas" in the class play. "Forgive me, Lord, for I cannot believe," I was instructed to declaim, "help Thou my unbelief!"
I remember feeling keenly self-conscious as I spoke, not about the real possibility of my own inward unbelief, which remained aptly undecided at that time, but about the fact that my teacher had somehow divined my weak skepticism and therefore singled me out to walk through this rather embarrassing conversion experience in front of a crowd.
During the play, I worried about whether or not the adults watching would find me acceptable anyway, and whether they were finding the portrayal of my pretend-conversion at all persuasive as dramaturgy. (As a desperately closeted gay child who had acquired early the terrified hyper-vigilance of the hunted, in those days my first concern at all times and in every social circumstance was whether or not I was succeeding at winning the forbearance, if not the full approval, of any onlookers who might otherwise appraise me more closely and surmise my secret.)
I remember a pit in my stomach at being forced, through the lines of this contrived bible story, to act as though I acceded to the religious party line. I also recall feeling, ever after, a quiet pride for having declared my arms-length position - the doubting Thomas indeed, in this and all matters spiritual. Even to this day, I agree with Didymus (ne Thomas): “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Not that I would ever actually do this icky thing, by the way: inappropriate touching.
TITLE - "I T rust In You"
WHERE - La Mesa, California (2017)