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  • (Amen)

    At some point in our lives we begin to ponder – about the same time as trouble starts. For about six years, maybe more, I mumbled my way through The Lord’s Prayer. By the end of sixth grade teachers had given up. Despite some 1000 rounds of repetition, I knew just four words: our, father, who, and amen. I was the kid on stage that the audience recognized as the son of another enthusiastic atheist. I was the tiny imp on the end whose distinct voice was only heard at the most memorable part of any poem, let alone this one. I was no better at the national anthem. Teachers prayed the curtain would hide me or made me drink a quart of water half an hour before show time. “May I be excused?”
    So around about then I discovered some random day that I didn’t know what amen meant. With my newfound deductive reasoning that came on with age, I figured it must be important as it stood alone by itself, like ‘Nope.’ ‘So?’ and ‘Really?’
    So at suppertime I asked my mother because I didn’t trust my father. But he interjected anyway. “It’s a call,” he said. “It’s the Christians thinking that God is calling them. They learned it from the army.”
    Since Dad had loyally served in the Air Force, I figured that on this non-gullible occasion he must know what he was lecturing about. “Whenever the sergeant needed everyone’s attention, he’d go “Hey, Men!” and now it’s just a simplified version of that. “That’s all there is to it. Nothing else.” I didn’t notice Mom smiling.
    It’s a useful and astute observation that Dad knew how to explain things well. Otherwise I still wouldn’t have learned those oceans of incorrect facts I used to explain life’s small puzzles to my own children.