The Priest.

I suppose it was a cantankerous orneriness that had me taking vows of celibacy and devotion to the Man in the Sky.

My family were committed atheists. They swore their noisy allegiance to nothing, as fervently as I was espousing my conviction that I had a good grasp of the hem of him up there.

I would tell them that the attempted converting behaviour that they were directing toward me, was religious in nature, but at the moment, misplaced. That made them almost apoplectic! 

As you can see, I don’t necessarily hold with all of the prevailing conventional views of the bible puncher’s doctrines either. I like to piss them off too! But my grounding in cantankerousness, I owe to my beloved family.

I have eight siblings. My parents possibly vibrated in unison with my current mob’s ideas on contraception, also. They multiplied.

I cannot be sure that they have finished with this branch of their numerical studies yet. Loving, and bringing forth, are not confined to those who spend a lot of their time on their knees, or even in missionary positions.

A few of my siblings also seem devoted to the uncovered form of loving, for I am the uncle to a whole tribe of devoted atheistic adherents.  

 I have managed to convince my nephews and nieces that my religious proclivities preclude me from celebrating their birthdays in the hedonistic manner in which they hold dear. 

I do not give presents!

No doubt, you can further see that my own adherence to my religious convictions is very much tongue in cheek. I just enjoyed the contradictions and being able to upset all manner of people in all their different guises. If in the form of devotion and sublime rectitude, some priests can have their little charges bent over and receiving benediction in the form of a few inches of throbbing flesh, then my own lack of any genuine piety can be held to my own bosom.

I am not tainted by the compulsion of having to confess the many indulgences that I allow myself. I can be as mealy-mouthed as any professing zealot.

I enjoy my Sundays, spouting out such tedious claptrap as not coveting the gorgeous wives that have come to make up my congregation. Neither do I blush as I go through the ritual of avowing the remedial actions that I am undertaking to make myself into a suitable contender for sitting at God’s right hand. I’m fulfilling my purpose in life, enjoying it.

I guess I function as the ‘lily in the field.’ I certainly cannot spin, and I hardly call my vocation, such as it is, work. 

Up until this time I was having a ball. I could sense the unease of my fellow clerics that were often hovering around me, unable to put their finger on what was out of place with me. I said all the right things and echoed their own sentiments, but they still sensed something to the contrary. I think the thing that they sensed, was my inward laughing, but solicitous demeanour, and that I did not take seriously the battles that they had with not only God but with his errant, right-hand man.

I had also laughed, quite openly, at my own family’s battles to prove to me, and themselves, that there was nothing out there. They couldn’t seem to see that it was unimportant whether there was or not. However, I am gratified to know that compared to the religious adherents, much less time was spent by them trying to prove the negative. They danced. They boozed, but they did good works, helping the poor.

I would frequently tease them about their good works, telling them that I didn’t believe the words that they were saying. It was obvious that God was in their heart. Who else would look after the downtrodden and the wayward! They really couldn’t handle this much goodness being attributed to them, especially my giving thanks to God for having such a devotional family. I don’t think they have ever caught on to the fact that I was kidding them. I have to admit though, I am a master of the straight face.

However, a catastrophe has befallen me. I am absolutely, and irredeemably, in love. In fact, in a love that is ridiculously wholesome, and incredibly debilitating, that all my cynical attitudes are fleeing in great abandonment.

I am lost. This has never happened to me before. I want it to go away, but I desperately want it to stay. As I said, I’m undone!

I’ve gone off my food. I can hardly sleep. It has taken a fantastic effort to carry on without falling over in front of the first priest that I see and confessing this holy-shit-like kind of love. I declare that I am almost at my wit’s end. This aspect of myself is so alien, that I had only known it in others as an intellectual exercise. But in me, my path is blocked for all calm and rational endeavours. Outside of the barbaric medical procedure of electric shock, I cannot see any way back to the bland, but comfortable existence that I had previously so cherished. What was I to do? I’m not even sure that a few hundred volts would do much good. Salvation was at hand, however, by way of a fellow inmate of our ‘holy’ establishment. 

This priest had apparently cast his seed wisely in a very fertile and loving receptacle. It had provided our former believer with the necessary motivation to embark upon the road that many of his elderly and former colleagues wished that they had taken themselves. He threw off his smock and collar and embraced his new life with an enthusiasm that had been absent for many years on the pulpit.

His elation instigated a revelation in my own proclivity. Suddenly the shackles of unbelief and cynicism fell off of me. I had indeed spun and toiled all around me, alienating myself from all people and most things. I was as devout in my idiosyncrasy as any God-fearing zealot. The change was happening in me. There would be a reckoning. No one went through this upset of an established routine unscathed. Me, who thought that I really didn’t have a routine, had a routine as firmly ensconced as most of the martinets that I associated with.

Naturally, the object of my love was beautiful. Not beautiful as others may be beautiful, but a sublime beauty that poets theoretically refer to. Too beautiful to be captured on film, or nowadays, digitally, but I’m sure I caught a halo glimmering around her resplendent countenance. 

Our love affair had been openly chaste, but raging beneath our bland exteriors were the temptations that were taunting and daring us to immediately express our thrall by the shedding of our garments and proceeding to consummation in those halls of holy devotion. 

My cynical disregard for any concerns of decorum vanished before my new awakening. I cared, and in that moment I was no longer a priest, de facto or otherwise. That I was able to keep my composure during this revelation was the measure of my devotion to this incredible creature. I carried on, on automatic, almost unable to retain the train of my mouthings. Viva la rituals in this case! I finally completed the last amen and then truly amen-ded my way into the vestry and divested myself of my clerical uniform, and felt free. 

Whether my proclamations of love would be reciprocated to the degree that I wished, would not affect my intention to follow a different path with a new set of beliefs.

I have always assessed myself as being very astute at determining the motives underlying people’s actions. Consequently, I have been able to see when people’s affection for each other start moving across a border into a sexual arousal or even love. This facility I had applied to the woman of my affections and hoped that the love I saw reflected back was only for myself. Now, I am making my way along a path into an area in which there may be dragons. I don’t care.

December 13, 2019 21:20

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Jubilee Forbess
22:32 May 14, 2020

I really have started seeing a theme in your stories and since a lot of my stories kind of connect too, I think that's very neat.


Len Mooring
08:03 May 15, 2020

You are right, I guess it also applies to our personal lives too. I had a boss who was always late, not usually, always. He also always had a reason for this lateness as though it was a one-time thing. It is much easier to see a theme in others than in oneself I've found.


Jubilee Forbess
03:32 May 19, 2020

Definitely! I think that could be a writing advisory. Public service announcement!


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