Here is my BEST Jesus story . . .
I lived in some apartments some years back.
The apartments were a kind of "Retirement" atmosphere of ancient conviviality.
Once a week there would be a coffee and doughnuts get-together so you would know who your neighbors were.
Well . . .
I went to one and didn't go for month or so. Then I showed up and greeted everybody.
One white-haired dearie said to me, "I thought you were the one who died."
I assured her I was not.
There were only two (count em') TWO guys still alive and I was (presumably) one of them.
Then, another fellow moved in and he had retired with plenty of money (apparently).
The ladies just adored him.
Well, one Sunday at the coffee thingy, I say hello to the new guy and he says to me all excitedly,
"Did you see Henrietta's clock?"
Well, I thought that sounded like a straight line if ever I had heard one.
"You did say: CLOCK, right?"
"What'd you think I said?"
I told him I didn't think a woman with a clock was quite newsworthy enough to warrant his enthusiasm, so I . . . well, never mind!
(His name was Stan, by the way.)
Stan didn't miss a beat.
"Oh come one, come on--you gotta go with me--she'll show it to you. You've never seen anything like it."
The other folks were listening to Stan and they suddenly jumped in all at once.
"Oh that's right! YOU CAN SEE THE FACE OF JESUS in the woodgrain of her clock!"
I laughed. But, the faces of the others told me not to scoff. There were more of them than me, so . . .
Cut to the chase.
I end up, along with all the others, standing in Henrietta's room.
We formed a semi-circle around a sort of smallish version of a Grandfather's clock.
We probably look a bit like those ape-like hominids at the beginning of Kubrick's 2001 A Space Oddyssey.
One by one the lady hominids lurched forward and touched the sacred "face" of phantom Jesus, "ooohing and ahhhhing" and the others
were purring like shaggy kittens with blue permed fur.
"You see it?"
"Do you SEE it?"
"Do YOU SEE it?"
Every one of them was cocking their head this way and that like a puppy in a pet shop window.
"Isn't it amazing?"
I stared. I blinked. I squinted. I got closer, then farther away.
My internal dialogue went like this, " I DON'T SEE A FUCKING THING--ARE YOU NUTS???"
A few minutes passed and tempers were getting short with me.
Some were making excuses for me, while others were suggesting I was atheist or Muslim. I'm not kidding!
"Are you a BELEEEVER?" Henrietta blue-hair asked me with suspicious eyes and a pruney mouth twisted up into snarl.
There have been many times in my life where, as a Jehovah's Witness I had to stand up for what I believed to be Truth.
I refused to salute the flag in school. I refused induction into the armed forces. Things of a sober and profound nature which
put into a special category of disdain, contempt, and peculiarity I can still remember.
Sometimes you have to swim against the tide and say what's really in your heart and your mind. Right?
"Oh yes ma'am--and I think I'm starting to see my Saviour's face--YES--YES--THERE IT IS!"
(Don't judge me too harshly. I had to see these people every day. It was nigh time to learn to go along to get along. Screw integrity. Been there/done that!)
One by one the congregants drifted out and into the hallway all aglow and deeply spiritually satisfied.
It was just Stan and me left, alone.
Henrietta had sauntered off to go back to the coffee and doughnut soiree' in the recreation room.
Stan turned to me and said, "I was hoping you couldn't."
"Couldn't see it--I can't see a damn thing!"
"WHAT? I stood there and just lied my ass off! I can't see anything but rather ugly woodgrain. There is not a trace of the SON OF GOD unless Lord Jesus looked like a knothole!"
Stan gave me one of those inscrutable looks for a second and shrugged his shoulders.
"I wish you had said something. They browbeat me for a solid hour yesterday until I gave in!"
Now I knew what it felt like to be just like everybody else!
Maybe, just maybe . . . this is how Christianity spread in the first place! ?