Memories : Sometimes I Can’t Help Myself

It was 2003.
I was at lunch
With the interim pastor
At the church
I attended at the time.

A book by Harry Potter
Had been published
Just a few weeks before.
And I’d had so much fun
Because that book
Existed.

The pastor and I spoke
About a lot of things.
And we shared a few stories
About things we had both seen
In the church
In months gone by.

It was then I told him
That I had been
So very mean one time.
To someone in the church.
That I couldn’t help myself
At all.

She’d walked up to me
On a Sunday morning.
And asked where my daughter was.
It was all that I could do
To keep from cracking up.
For I knew exactly
What was going to happen
If I spoke the truth.

I could have smoothed
The whole thing over.
And not bothered anyone.
All I had to do
Was say,
“She was up late last night,
Couldn’t sleep.
So she’s not feeling well today.”
A little white lie.
People use them all the time.

Instead,
I spoke the truth.
“She’s at home.
Reading the new Harry Potter book.”

The look upon the face
Of the lady in the church
Was a look of pure shock.
And she put her hands up
To cover where
Her jaw had dropped.

“I’ll pray for her,”
She said,
Quite earnestly
At that.

I sat there,
And kept talking
To myself,
“Don’t laugh, Marcus!
Don’t laugh!”
For I knew
Before I’d answered her
That she’d never read a page
Of any Harry Potter book.

It’s one of those things,
Where the Pastor says,
“This source says these books are evil.”
And the body of the church
Just doesn’t think for itself.
And sits back.
And listens.
And agrees.

I think they do that
Just because
They don’t want
The responsibility
Of thinking for themselves.

Anyway.
I knew for a fact
That the Pastor didn’t know
Anything at all
About the Harry Potter books.
Just someone that he respected,
Had said the books are evil.
And that person
Hadn’t read a page.
But was echoing
What he’d heard.

One of those things
Where when you trace it back
To it’s point of origin
You realize
The person that started
The entire chain
Never read a word
Of the books that they had claimed
Were evil
And supported witchcraft,
And devil worship.

Silly people.
Silly people everywhere.
Sigh.

As I shared the story
With the interim Pastor
On that day at lunch,
I just had to say to him,
“I knew it wasn’t
What I was supposed to say.
But sometimes
I can’t help myself.
I can’t.
And I just have to play
With people.
Toy with them.
It’s so very easy
To do.
And sometimes
I just can’t resist.
I really should
Behave.”

And the Pastor had said to me,
“I wish more people
Were like you.”

I’m sorry God.
But sometimes I can’t help myself.
People are so easy
To abuse.

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