The gentle tap of a cloth-covered stick against a glass bowl launched soft, sonorous ripples into the air that washed over the congregants, calling them back from a hundred individual reveries to focus their attention on the one speaker in front of the room.
After much listening, singing, smiling, and hand holding, we made our way to the community room. "There's such a great energy here, right?" Dad asked me.
"Yes, there is." Then, remembering my minute of meditation, I asked, "What do you think God is?" I'd always thought of religion as an elaborate fairy tale, filled with magical moments and superior beings with special powers, not unlike witches, warlocks, and leprechauns. When I was in Catholic school, the God of my imagination was a great sorcerer, casting spells to reward or punish on a whim. Now, the word seems an elusive idea for which every person has a different interpretation.
After taking a moment to think, Dad responded to my question: "There's one power in the universe. I call it 'God.' To me, it's that which makes my heart beat while I'm sleeping."
"And that which grants you port-o-potties while you're walking," I added.
"Very funny," said Dad. "You're going to hell for that, you know."
"Yeah. I know."