Last week I wrote about my Nana's faith, and today I'm writing about my much more enigmatic paternal grandfather, Earl. This is an excerpt from my manuscript that will likely be cut if it ever sees the publishing light of day, so I figured I'd use it on the blog (especially since I'm out of town and writing all this week's posts in advance!).
Yet in so many ways my grandfather was a mystery.
I can’t say for sure, because I really don’t have any idea what my grandfather believed in his heart, but I suspect his was a tenuous faith at best. He tolerated Nana’s insistence that we choose our knickknacks as part of their bequest, he attended church every Saturday evening, he took communion, but did he believe? I’m not really sure.
I never heard Papa mention God in any context, ever. This is not surprising in and of itself, given that he was not a verbally demonstrative man. But I remember glancing at him covertly when we were at Mass and noticing that he never uttered a prayer. He didn’t even move his lips, nor do I ever recall him making the sign of the cross. Was he reciting the prayers in his head? Was he praying at all? Who knew? His face was an indecipherable mask.
During my many non-believing years, my grandfather's retreat into himself terrified me. I think I saw myself, decades from now, in him. Is this how a non-believer ends up, I wondered? Is this it? Is this is what's coming to me, too? The thought filled me with horror. Yet it wasn't enough to compel me to believe in God. I resigned myself to my fate and tried to think about it as little as possible.