Okay, Uncle Jim, you asked for it.
"a second chance"
My whole life has been a second chance, really. If I
didn’t know any better, thanks to the Creed and the
Catechism, I would think that my baptism didn’t take.
My childhood was not so much different from that of
many men my age, so I won’t go into too many details.
My parents were a mixed marriage, there was drug use
and attempted suicide and divorce before I was ten. I
had less than one year of any kind of “religious ed”.
We were Christmas-Easter Catholics. I have fond
memories of my mother telling us we couldn’t go to
mass that day so we could choose a story from the
Bible for her to read to us. I always chose Noah and
the Flood from our children’s Bible. It had cool
My father died when I was twelve. We lost our home,
etc. My mother remarried, another Protestant. A good
man, he brought a semblance of order into a life that
had more or less become that of an animal.
High school and college were descents into worse.
Loneliness was assuaged by a few good friendships. We
fooled around with booze and pot in the 12th grade.
In college I dabbled with acid and speed. By the
middle of sophomore year I was on the verge of suicide
and ended up on anti-depressants.
I started going to mass. At first, it was because
Catholic girls were better looking, I admit. I came
to know a great priest, Father Miguel de las Casas
(guess who his favorite saint was!). From my present
vantage, I would probably label him a “liberal”, but
he was a man of great compassion and I forgive him the
engrams presentation he made at one mass. I joined
confirmation class my senior year, but dropped out two
weeks before the sacrament because I “wasn’t ready”.
I was on my way to missionary work on the border for a
year and thought maybe I would get it done there.
I ended up the director of a women’s shelter in Juarez
a year later and extended my stay. I met my wife and
eldest daughter there. Unfortunately, I was a coward
and didn’t marry her. We shacked up in a ghetto in
Juarez, living in a house literally made from
cardboard boxes. It snowed in Juarez that winter and
I damn near died from throat infection, cold,
starvation and diarrhea.
I sent her home, pregnant, to Honduras a few months
later, came back to the States to earn money and flew
down to join her three months later. We were still
Christmas-Easter Catholics, making very occasional
trips to mass and didn’t baptize the kids. After a
year, I came back to the US, earned some more money
and, with my parent’s help, flew them (wife, daughter
and son) up and started living a fairly immoral life
here in the states.
Two years later, I started going to mass again, alone.
The Spring of 2001. I began to pray that God would
protect my family: if anything bad was going to happen
to them, I wanted him to do it to me.
On June 24, 2001, leaving mass, I was struck head-on
by a truck and killed, essentially. Modern technology
revived me and I regained consciousness ten days later
in a distant hospital.
Since then I have taken this God fellow a lot more
seriously than I used to.