“Let me tell you, Si-si, I don’t believe in God!” said a Truly Sad Lady, who had just caught her fiance sidling up to a younger, thinner, and richer version of herself. “How could I trust someone who watches your life fall apart... and never offers help when… when he can?”
You know that feeling when someone does something stupid, and you are not close enough to just smack her on the back of her head in order to stop her from doing more harm to herself.
That was how I felt after this declaration in, of all places, a swanky hotel powder room, which, at that moment, was littered with various Truly Rich Ladies, some poised over sinks, a few poised over bowls (in the stalls), and still others just standing around with poise.
I clutched the Champagne-colored pearls of my rosary inside the velvet pocket of my bamboo mini bag, and just let the sound of faucet water do the talking because, as a Truly Rich Person, I knew very well that I shouldn’t poke the bear. God, like other topics that illicit passion (money, haircuts, the best breakfast in Manila), are best discussed in private.
But as a believer in all things good, including water conservation, I couldn’t just let this mouthy moment pass, right?” The water gurgled as she continued her tirade. “How could someone so great let this horrible thing happen to me?” she cried out. “He is a fool and a phony!”
These are the things that I could have done:
Just Let The Water Wash Over Everything
I was once trapped in a car with a Very Religious Woman and she, out of the blue, asked me how I felt about swearing and then proceeded to lecture me about the evilness of being a potty mouth. Well, I told her to just “shut her f...”
Her fudge. We had just had dessert, and the remnants of her cereal milk ice cream were about to drip onto the yummy caramel leather of my car. That can't fudgin' happen.
Most people find it severely off-putting when other people shove their beliefs in their faces. In fact, the more these other people insist their version of spirituality is the only and correct way, the more their listeners are inclined to turn away. Just like a new dish at a weekend breakfast place, I want to discover faith at my own pace: Taste it, chew on it, digest it, come back for more. Or not.
In reply to pushy Fudge Lady, at that moment I simply arranged my face into the expression of Mona Lisa, and said, “Mmmm,
Shut The Faucet And Allowed Words To Escape From My Mouth
I don’t understand how people can dismiss God or, worse, mock Him, saying that He is a fake, a fool, or a flake. I always think: Who will you turn to when your burden gets too heavy? Who will give you that supernatural push that will help you transcend the pain of mortal life?
Who am I going to lean on when times get rough? Who’s going talk to me on the phone 'til the sun comes up? Who’s going take your place? There ain't nobody better!
Ah, wait, that's a song.
Anyway, I know I can't stay up too late to solve Truly Sad Lady's problem, but I can offer her a piece of advice:
Ah, wait, that's also a song.
You get the point. It would be an opportunity to invite someone to consider a different way of thinking. God is not a voyeur who makes you stumble just for laughs. I believe,
Of course, I would tell her all this in a more private encounter (in a stall?) and in the most gentle manner. I imagine the face-off would be uncomfortable, but sometimes you just have to stand up for what you believe in. Didn’t the saints do exactly that? They took to the streets and talked up God and, in the process, got hauled into jail and then got their heads lopped off. That's why you have to do it gently.
Made A Graceful Exit And Prayed—Naturally
I would've stepped out of that circle of hell and asked my driver to deliver me to my favorite little chapel, which at that time, would've been empty—the perfect moment to reflect on all the topsy-turvy things happening around me and, indeed, the world.
The church has advised that we not worry too much about careless remarks and, yes, despite the turmoil, keep believing. Just go to church and sing loudly His praises. I would like to do this