?No one on earth have ever gone to church to see You more than my dear mother!? he bellowed. ?All through this war, she always made plenty of time for You! It?s not right what You?ve allowed to happen to us! She was begging in the street, God! Begging! Don?t You Understand? There, in front of Our very own church, begging! AND I?M MAD AT YOU, GOD!?
Screaming these last words, Juan stopped dead, looking up toward the heavens, feeling sure that he was going to be struck down by lightning. He swallowed. He thought of his mother. He saw the cannons firing in the distance. But the skies didn?t open and strike him dead and yet he could see very clearly that he truly did mean what he had said. He was, indeed, mad at God.
?God!? he shouted. ?Look at that war going on, look at what we?ve been through! I can?t wait for You anymore! You?ve had Your chance to help us again and again and You?ve failed! Do You hear me, You failed!? Saying this, Juan looked up at the moon and the stars again, feeling so scared and nervous and yet, wonderfully happy. He knew that what he was doing was wrong, was going against everything he?d ever been taught by the Holy Catholic church, but he was being truthful, too.
A coyote called in the distance and the moon went behind a cloud. The night grew dark and cold.
?God,? he said, continuing his talk with the Almighty, ?my mother, she was Your closest friend, and You abandoned her and so...? He stopped. He swallowed. ?I am sorry to say this, but if I have to kill and steal ... I will. My mother will never beg again!?
And there Juan Salvador held, staring up at the heavens full of stars and moonlight and exploding cannons in the distance, but no lightning came and the earth didn?t part and swallow him, either. He wiped the sweat from his face and, strangely enough, instead of feeling abandoned by God, he felt closer to Him. He felt as if a great burden had just been taken off him; as if this was the first in a long time he had truly spoken to God and told him what he really thought.
He took another deep breath and looked at the pile of wood he?d gathered. Then, he saw it so clearly; there it was, the problem. ?Why, this bundle of wood is too big,? he said. ?These are heavy, hard roots. Not even a burro could carry this load.?
He spat in his hands and went to work, taking off half the wood from the pile. The wood, he could now see, was a lot heavier than even the oak wood they had back home. He tied together only as much as he knew he could carry. ...