Free At Last

The old priest looked down at the young woman and inquired, “What is it I can help you with, my child?”

She solemnly replied, “I wish to confess my sins.”

He motioned to one of the confessionals and said, “Go in there. Someone will be with you shortly.”

She went in, sat, and waited. Presently, she was requested to begin. She did.

When I was four years old I knew that God wasn’t real, just a creation of my imagination. That wasn’t my sin. My sin was keeping this knowledge imprisoned inside me, while speaking to others as if God was real. It was all like some kind of game, though I knew the other children were serious about it, or tried to be serious.

When I was older and began singing hymns, I sang more beautifully than anyone. I wasn’t afraid of singing too beautifully or too proudly, for I knew there was no God to strike me down. After one song a nun came up to me and spoke harshly, saying that I was drowning the choir. And my sin rose again for, instead of slapping that old nun across the face, I held my hand by a most violent effort, and said not a word. Oh, sin of mine, that I did not strike her down! And so the years went by.

Then came the time to graduate, just a week ago it was. I had gotten the highest grades in the class, though the nuns looked afraid of me. I then committed my greatest sin. When asked to give a graduation speech I spoke the usual and expected words, not meaning any of them. My feelings were hard to restrain, for as I looked at the young, blind, faithful faces looking up at me, I could see that my words must have sounded opposite to their literal meaning, there was so much anger and resentment in their eyes. Again, Oh Sin, not to speak the truth about the vile, self-killing evil of religion!

Now, grandfather, I can tell you’ve had your heart attack. I don’t forgive you for being a priest, though at least once you found time for real love and pleasure.

The nuns are coming. One might weep for you.

I am free.

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