“A dog can’t think that much about what he’s doing, he just does what feels right.” Barbara Kingsolver
Being a Christian means you don’t have to be a good person. You can be a piece of shit. I know I’m a piece of shit, but I know someone paid my debt for me. That’s what being a Christian means.
Someone paid my debt for me, died for it, and then rose again. I can be a sinner, I can be a drinker, and I can be born this way and that way. I can be the person who never changes, but someone has saved me.
After we met, Brian started praying that we would meet some more. He got a haircut and got his monobrow waxed. He became very handsome. Some people think he looks like Al Pacino while others think he looks like Eric Roberts. I think he looks like the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Every time we went out I left whatever last date it was thinking it was the last time. After three months I had a party at my house and he came to it. It was Craig’s house, my ex-boyfriend’s, but by then he had moved out and I was still living there, alone.
All my friends came over and everyone stayed the night because we were all drinking. They all left in the morning, except Brian. He didn’t leave. I had an appointment at Bay Presbyterian with my minister that same morning.
I told my minister about who I had met and what was happening.
“I’m fucked,” I thought.
“Red flags should be going up,” he said.
“They are!” I said. “They are going up!”
We prayed and my minister made a list with a good side and a bad side. I started checking them off, drug addict, Mob ties, can’t always remember my name, until my minister finally stopped me.
“He’s on the bad side of the list,” I said.
“Do you believe God can move mountains,” he asked.
“Of course I do,” I said.
“What makes you think you can’t change Brian?”
“You could stay away from him, but that’s not what Christianity is about.”
“You’re right,” I said. “Jesus hung out with prostitutes and shitty people.”
Brian and I were both molested when we were young. He went to drugs and alcohol. I went to the Lord.
When I got home to Craig’s house I told Brian what my minister had said.
“He didn’t tell you I was a piece of shit and you should leave me?” Brian was brought up a Catholic.
“No,” I said. “He said you should change your ways and follow Christ. He said if you would stop drinking for a year then you have his permission to further your relationship with me.”
“I’ll never drink again,” said Brian.
“Get out of my house and get out, too!”
He just looked at me.
“You can’t make those kinds of promises. What is the point if you don’t tell the truth? Nobody can help you if you don’t tell the truth. I’m all about the truth. Call me if you ever sober up.”
He looked and looked at me.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “You have to give me a ride.”
He didn’t own a car. I drove him back to Little Italy.
He called me the next morning. “I’m still sober,” he said. “I’m never going to drink again. You’re my life and I’m going to marry you.”
“Don’t say shit like that,” I said.
We got married on St. Patrick’s Day. Brian’s been sober for fourteen years and we’ve been married for thirteen years. St Patrick is the saint who said “Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I arise.” He’s the patron saint of unworthy sinners.
Brian found Christ, but the one thing he did not do was he didn’t stop smoking weed. I was OK with it, except it bothered me when he was getting high in the car while we were on our way to church.
“I don’t care what the fuck you do,” I finally told him,” but don’t go to church high. I’m not going to harp on it, it’s just something I can’t stand.”
I swear like a truck driver. I grew up with the word ‘fuck’ at the dinner table every night. I think my mother invented the word. At least she made it her own. I say it every day in front of my minister. There’s no fakeness. I’m very real. If that is how I’m going to talk then that is how I’m going to talk.
The weed was where I drew the line with Brian, although when you get everything on your go-to list answered the way you want it, down to his eye color, you don’t throw it back in God’s face saying, no thanks. But, I had to draw a line.
“You’re not going to go to church anymore if you’re going to get high on the way,” I said.
He got down on his hands and knees and asked the Lord to take the yoke from his neck and get rid of the addiction. He wanted to get clean and it was in his heart. He hasn’t smoked for almost ten years.
I had a dream that he went back to the bottle.
“That’ll never happen,” he said. “Did I have fun then? Do I miss those days, Sure, I had a blast, it was a great time, but I was lonely. I was by myself and I was sad. I love my life now.”
He was a drunk then. He didn’t know a lot about sobriety, only a lot about drinking. He never had one beer. Whenever he bought a six-pack he drank a six-pack. He used to make me so mad. ”I’m going to punch you in the fucking throat!”
He doesn’t smoke or drink anymore. He’s the first one to tell everyone that Christ is real and alive and working in all our lives every day. We still go to bars, but he just watches me drink. It only takes a couple and I’m loose.
We don’t have to not go to bars or leave five minutes after we’ve gotten there, either. He can go to a bar and not drink. He’s made that happen. He started getting it that it was about the people he was with, especially me now.
Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.