I had dinner the other night with a very nice gentlemen whom I met on match.com. I will call him Allen. He was nicely dressed with polished shoes and clean fingernails (my first checkpoints–tough for me to go any further with the date if those two requirements have gone awry!). He was an interesting man, actually he was a bit taken with himself and his accomplishments, nevertheless, he was interesting. He was well-educated both formally and through varied life experiences.
Unfortunately, the possibility of our having a relationship was not there. Early in the evening, he announced that he was an atheist, and had no room for God or a higher being in his life. I was disappointed to learn that because along with the first two requirements of clean shoes and fingernails, I need someone who believes. He can believe in a different God, go to a different church, or not go to any church at all for that matter, but he does have to believe for me to make room for him in my life. Being an atheist is literally a show-stopper for me. I am judgmental about that, I know,but I am being honest with myself.
In any event, several times during the evening, after either of us said something , he would conclude the topic by saying “AMEN” quite emphatically. The word that I have always thought was used solely to end a prayer sounded odd coming from a self-proclaimed atheist. Yet, his use of the word AMEN seemed to say “I agree” or “You can say that again!”
While he truly was a kind man who continues to lead a productive life (a few more check points), by the end of the evening, I “ruled him out.” While he made it through the fingernail and shoe check, he did not make it through the “believer” check. Frankly, I do not think my “Pollyanna”, “everything will work out” philosophy of life impressed him very much, so he probably ruled me out just as quickly as I had done to him.
But something funny happened this morning. At Mass, in delivering his eulogy, the priest was talking about the word, “AMEN”. He said it means “I believe!” He suggested that when we say it, generally at the end of a prayer, we should say it in a loud voice, emphasizing that we believe in the words we just uttered. The priest led us in a practice session and kept encouraging us to say AMEN louder and louder. People around me were laughing as it just sounded funny coming from our rather conservative congregation. I was laughing because it reminded me of Allen. If Allen only knew how many times he had professed his faith the other night, he would be horrified!!!!!
I like the idea of finishing up some of my thoughts with “Amen”–emphasing my strong belief and commitment to what I have just said. As I often write about my everyday experiences and the messages I derive from them, sometimes I will add the word AMEN to finish my written thoughts.–the last word between my thoughts and my actual behavior which tells the real story of what I believe in.