By Zack Hoffman
I lost my faith.
Where did I put it? I’ve been looking for it everywhere.
In drawers, in the kitchen cabinet, pulling pants out of the laundry hamper and looking inside the pockets.
Where is it?
Is it in a book?
Did some self help guru hide my faith between the lines?
Is it on page 8 or 114 or was it chapter 3?
Where is it?
Did it get sucked out of me by all those episodes of network murder porn, where each week, each episode, each hour, another murder, another body that gets probed and analyzed, cut open and covered with a white sheet, hour after hour after hour?
Has my faith left town?
Did the President take my faith and cash it in for stock options?
Is my faith with family?
Is it at my mother’s apartment at the bottom of a bottle of JB scotch?
I keep looking.
I don’t want to leave the house without it.
Friends come over to take me to temple on Friday night …it’s the Sabbath, but I am faithless sitting in the back seat of a car, like some pilgrim being taken to the block for public humiliation.
My relationship is in chaos,
I came home and I found our friendship was smashed on the floor in a hundred pieces and I took broom and a dust pan, and swept it up and threw it in the trash.
My home, my work, all in chaos
But we kept driving to temple because it was the Sabbath and the sun was setting, but for me it was already dark and cold.
We got out of the car and I we walked to the edge of the door of the synagogue and I froze. Like a force field that separated…
out from in.
me from them.
I was empty.
I had no faith with me.
What it looked like to me was that all around me there were people who had their faith with them.
They had name-tags and buttons and handshakes and hugs.
They were passing out prayer books and yammikahs.
I don’t know what happened or where they got it, but it seemed everyone around me had woken up this morning gone to the dresser drawer and said, “There it is! There’s my faith”
and slipped it on like a loose garment. That loose garment everybody talks about. But I looked in my closet and I didn’t have that loose fitting garment. Or any garment or even a tee shirt that said “Got Faith?”
Who has my faith?
Was it stolen in the night by the faith bandits with masks and idols?
Here I am and I don’t have my faith.
I can’t step out and I can’t step in.
I am in the real Limbo. The Limbo Catholic Church talks about, where my soul is rattling around inside my chest like some angry prisoner banging on the bars, wanting out.
Who has my faith?
Who sits in a golden chair and throws lightning bolts, using words like “smite” and “pestilence”.
I know that God…he would not have my faith.
It’s the other God who might have my faith. One who is patient even when I have tirade and beat the floor like a child. One who utters words like “love” and “compassion” that wash over me like a warm breeze?
I have had faith.
That’s why I know I’ve lost it, because I have had it once, been full and danced with Them.
The Big Them
Not the Jews
Or the Moslems
Or the Christians
Or the Buddhists
But them…the entire human race.
And we danced and dared and got lost in meditation.
Got quiet and listened.
Is that where my faith is?
Somewhere at the bottom of a long silence.
An endless ommm or ohhmm or yaway or adoinoi.
Deep down and silent like the stomach of Job’s whale.
Is it there I will find a black and tarry glob and put it in my hand and it will melt into a ball of spinning energy, a glowing ball of energy that will light the way out of here?
When the dark night comes you have to pick up your bed roll, put it on your back and walk out the door. Here I am, stopped at the door.
Stepping to the edge, then pacing.
I have emptied drawers and closets, looking behind bookshelves and underneath desks. Fumbled through nightstands and medicine cabinets.
My faith is not on my mp3 player
or on my computer
or on the DVD of the Dali Lama speaking Tibennese to English subtitles.
It’s not on my phone
Or in a cryptic text message
So shall I pretend?
Smile like some poser while Jackson Brown starts singing “in the cool of the evening…”
Just show up and hope no one really notices that I have no faith at all.
Fear that someone will walk up to me and make me show them my faith.
What would I do then?
Stand there and be embarrassed in the spot light?
Or lie and say something like, “I had it just a minute ago!”