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Intro to Not Holy Faith

Here’s another from my childhood. It’s about letting go and growing up; growing up in the best sense of the phrase (not the growing up that makes you hard and cold), but the growing up that embraces change and looks forward to the freedom found therein.

As always, your comments are welcome.

not holy faith

by philip scott wikel

Life is happening to everyone.
The connotation of this statement might be that we are somehow victims.
How to take hold of it?

How many times have you tried or thought you were trying only to come full circle. Life is happening to everyone. But like the little girl who knows the right time to move into the circle of the turning rope, there seems to be a process wherein you can join in and jump.

I was once a little boy with a blue Schwinn “Stingray.” It had training wheels and I had wavy, dirty-blonde hair smoothed back with Vitalis. It was spring 1970, Goshen, New York. I was four and, down the street, Miss Summer’s garden, which seemed to encompass the known world, was in full bloom; wildflowers and bees, pollen and posies.

That Christmas my brother would show my sister and I the hiding place for presents. And I would, for the first time, feel a certain sense of unease about the world; how what was, may not be. This bit of uncovering wouldn’t be fully realized until nearly seven years later when, on Christmas Eve and needing to pee, I caught my father stuffing Christmas stockings with candy. It seemed we both felt the loss at the same moment; he mine, I his, me mine, he his. I don’t recall either of us saying anything. Just eyes meeting, his mouth slightly open, neither of us breathing, the fantasy dimmed. The holiday became something else. Belief became dependent on faith, not holy faith, but the faith that warms the motions we go through in ritual. When the veil’s lifted you can either smile or deny. I turned away for a while.

At age seven we took the training wheels off of my bike. My father held the seat and ran behind me. I could feel how his hand steadied the bike. My hands sweated against the blue plastic handle-grips. My eyes didn’t want to look beyond the handlebars but I was aware of the old maples that lined the street and all of the houses of all of my neighbors moving by me. And my sister, having already learned this, sat comfortably on her banana seat leaning against the curb.

“I’m going to let go,” my father said.

“No,” I replied in a voice that seemed small to me and probably even smaller to my father.

“You’ve got it,” he said as he let go.

I could feel myself pedaling wildly now. The handlebars struggling back and forth.

Leaning. Gravity. Crash.

My father caught up with me and reached down to help me up.

“You OK little man?”

“I guess.”

“You did well kid. C’mon let’s try again.”

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