I finally finished my Blood Essay. It still needs some work, but tell me what you think.

I cover my eyes with my right arm as I lie in bed and hope God hears me. I want Him to hear me. I feel like Naaman expecting a great manifestation from an angel saying, “Eric, God is real. He does love you, and wants you to be whole.” I know the things I should do in order to gain my faith, but I can’t. I would have to expose myself again and hear the answers I already know. I wish I really was like Naaman and had the courage to ask for help, but I can’t because I won’t.

* * *

I sat in another Fast and Testimony meeting on Sunday. My neck was bobbing back and forth as I listened to a blonde girl testify of her life changing experience because of a boiler that caught on fire. When she finished, there was a pause, I thought of this essay that I had worked on for weeks. I got up and walked to the front of the west ballroom and gripped the sides of the podium.

After explaining the concept of the Writing Center “Blood Essay,” I told the entire congregation about my “missing faith.” I related to them my redefined concept of faith.

“Faith is a hope. I do not know if it is real, but I hope that it is. I hope God hears me. I hope Jesus is the Christ. And I hope Joseph Smith saw them.”

The next day was our closing ward social. I was the activities coordinator, so I was required to be there early. The tables and chairs were set and the food ready to go. I arranged for the bishop to bring a whole roasted pig as the main course. I stood in the back admiring the reactions of the people who took picture after picture of the roasted pig with their cell phones. Suddenly, I felt an arm resting around my shoulder. I looked to my left and saw Bishop Scott smiling at their reactions too.

“How are you doing?” he asked.

“I think it is going to be a great party,” I responded.

He looked at me in the eyes and said, “I meant with what you said in your testimony yesterday.”

“Oh that. Well it is something I have struggled with for the past year.”

He began relating to me a life story and talked about Moroni’s definition of faith found in the Book of Mormon. I don’t remember exactly what he said; I just smiled and thanked him for bringing the pig.


Sarah said...

well, It's honest. And that is the scariest and most essential part of writing.

Sky said...

Not finished. Answer me this question (seriously, and I'm not thinking of an answer I want from you. I'm interested in what you think). How can you finish the essay? Is there a "finish"? If your main conflict in the essay is between you and people, it's a pretty good finish. If the main conflict is between you and God, which is what I, at first, thought, but maybe I'm wrong, then it's NOT near finished. (Is there ever a finish in that case? What would it be?)

Crystal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chan said...

Umm, the bit with the Bishop feels (to me) like it's on a lower level than the rest of it. And, like Sister Morgan, by the end I don't know what the focus is: people? God? lousy advice? roast pig?

Rebeckah said...

i think it's totally apropriate to hope that there is a god. i think that many may say that they "know" that there is one simply because "know" is the terminology that they've heard used to describe a testimony. there are other catch phrases and words that we use too: obedience, charity, humility, etc... i admit to using them daily without knowing what they mean. for you to say that you hope there is a god is so refreshing and so real, that it makes me feel comfortable with not knowing as much as i'd like to as well. on a technical note, i agree with sister morgan and matt, i don't think it's done yet.

Rebeckah said...

i don't know how to edit my comment, but when i said matt, i ment chan...

Eric James said...

I think I agree with the most of all that has been said. I think the essay itself was done before I added the part about the bishop, which takes away from the meaning. I like my last line of the original essay. That line doesn't demand a conclusion, just another essay. (Mostly because there isn't a conclusion.)

To answer Sister Morgan, my essay with and about God will never be "done," nor do I think it ever could be.