The church, much larger than any building Billie had seen or ever been in.
Billie had spoken to his friends concerning his problems who suggested that if God isn’t answering your prayers,
then maybe you have to go to see him yourself.
Where does God live?
So Billie walked his skinny 6yr old frame around the neighborhood he lived,
not finding a church or even knowing what it would or should look like he asked the boy named Troy, his brother’s friend.
“A church? What you want a church for?
I never seen your mother near a church can’t imagine they’d let you seeing’s you prolly not even been baptized.”
“I need to find God.”
“Yeah. I pray to God every night cause I been told if I do, then he might help me out.”
“Ain’t no one going to help you kid. Lotsa people pray to God and you see how the world is for all over. Pray to your self cuz you is the only one’s going to help you.”
“Well I can always ask, in person.”
“In person? Kid, maybe you’ll find a priest, and if he cares can help you but you won’t find God in no church.”
“Maybe the priest can help me find God.”
“Like I said, if the priest cares…”
“Do you know where the church is or don’t you?”
“Right behind you kid. Been there all the time you standing in front of me,
been there a long time in this neighborhood too, like any other building,
just standing there doing nothing but takin’ up space.”
“Let me know if you find God kid, I got a few questions for him like you.”
Bigger than any building that he had ever been near, giant wooden doors having to struggle to push open, he did and slipped in before the doors shut back on him. Rows of benches stretched forward from him, more people could sit on them than he could imagine but there was no one in them. No one here. The benches stretched away from the doors toward an enormous ceiling and a really big man, a white man nailed to two giant pieces of wood that crossed each other. He was sad, the man on the cross, his eyes closed, sad maybe cuz those nails must hurt, but this must be God he thought, someone kept him nailed to the cross so he wouldn’t go anywhere seeing’s how so many people pray to him. Doesn’t anybody ever come to see him in person? Guess not, he thought. It was cold and windy in the church, you could hear wind whistling from outside and it was still summer.
“Hello God? Hello God? Can you help me?”
Just ask, he thought.
“God? I really love my mother and she loves me back cause she says it all the time but she’s not been very good to me. She hurts me a lot, with her words and sometimes with her hands…”
The voice was a man’s voice and deep, but it wasn’t God as he thought for a moment. The man wore black clothing, all black with some white around his neck.
“Are you God?”
He laughed out loud, so hard he almost choked and coughed so much he had to sit to catch his breath.
“Am I God? Thats funny. Its sacrilegious for me to say but I sure wish I was cuz there’s lots I think I would do to help the world.”
“Can you help me?”
“Well I ain’t God but maybe I can, now boy-“
“Billie, my names Billie”
“Okay, Billie… did I hear you say something about your mother hurting you.”
“Yes, but she doesn’t mean to, sometimes I think I deserve it, I’m just a kid, I don’t know nothing.”
“But you know it hurts.”
“I thought he was God, be he didn’t say anything – “
“Thats just a statue – “
“No, of Jesus, he’s the son God.”
“God has a son?”
“Yes he does and thats a statue of Jesus.”
“Who’s Jesus, and why’s he nailed to that wood?”
“That’s a cross! For all the good people see in him he was a trouble maker to important people… Don’t you ever come to Church boy – “
“Billie, yeah well don’t you ever come to church, your mother never brings you here.”
“No, she sometimes comes by herself, on the way home she tells me and she prays for us, she prays for good to come. But it doesn’t, not ever cuz I know cuz how she hurts me and she cries a lot except when she takes a needle in her arm that makes her feel better, she leaves me alone and its quiet in our room for awhile. But she prays to God and he never answers and I figure why can’t I talk to God in person cuz maybe he’ll listen to me. My friends told me he’d be living here in the Church.”
“Well if he actually lived in a Church don’t know if it’d be this one, and there are so many which one would he choose! The Vatican I guess.”
“The Vatican? Are there a lot of churches?”
“Millions Billie, millions all over the world and he doesn’t really live in any of them – “
“But you said maybe the Vatican.”
“Well maybe not there either, the pope lives there.”
“The Pope? Who’s he?”
“The Pope’s the leader of the church.”
“But i thought God is the leader of the church.”
“God is the leader of it all…”
“All you see and hear and feel and think and imagine.”
“Well where does he live?”
“Everywhere? Well why can’t I see him?”
“Cause you have to believe.”
“But I do believe in God.”
“Maybe God just don’t want to see you.”
“The man turns and walks away…”