THE PRIEST VOW.
Time fly so fast and months turned into a year and was flying to the second year.
Joel was beginning to take a step and it was something beautiful. Watching him grow everyday makes me feel a certain kind of fatherly love for the child.
I don’t work at the grocery store on Saturdays and definitely not on Sunday except on emergency calls which will only be after morning mass.
Even the people at the coffee shop knew about my timing. They understand I can only be available during the week.
I usually attends all the Sunday mass. I may not appear in cleric or priest attire, I may not administer the holy water, or communion bread and wine to the congregation, I don’t go on a priest visitations to prisons, hospital or homes. Despite I don’t do any of those things which I use to do back in my parish I was still serving in my own way.
I took Anna and Joel to church on Sunday and brought them back after the first and second mass was over.
In the evening I got dressed again for service which is generally known as adoration.
I asked Anna if she will like to come along and she said yes.
I was in the car when she came out and join me with Joel.
We drove down to the church for adoration that Sunday evening where we all raised our voice in singing, clapping and dancing together.
I asked Anna to watch and follow my lead during burning of the incense time.
She was free as she sing along and dance with the crowd. Joel wasn’t left out in the adoration worship.
That evening when we got back home and she put Joel to bed, she came to join me in the sitting room.
“Why did you come here, I mean this city….why did you chose this particular city among many others?
Anna asked taking her sit in a close by cushion.
“I was told my mother came from here. I never get to meet her but I heard stories and the city reminds me of her.
We became quiet as I fixed my eyes on the television again.
“Who raised you…since you never get to know your mother then who brought you up? Your dad, grandma, relatives…who trained you and how do you became a priest?
Anna asked me. I breathed down and knew I will have to go down the memory lane to answer Anna’s questions.
I talk very slow and calm and that was the way I began. Picking at my word as I flashed back to my early boy days.
“I was raised in the catholic orphanage home….that was where I met father Patrick. He was also an orphan and wanted to live the rest of his live serving God. We both want almost the same thing. Our care giver were not much back then but they were kind only one was brutal but was removed after the bishop heard of his wicked and ungodly act. I don’t know my father, I don’t have blood relatives except the people I grew up with in the catholic children home. Many children wanted to be different things, some wanted to pursue their career and dreams and right now some are married with children, some are living their dream but only few were willing to dedicate their lives into serving God. No body forced me, I was asked severally if I’m sure of choosing this part of priesthood and I assured them all that I knew what I wanted. Same with father Patrick and lucky for us we were posted to the same parish after rounding up with our different seminary and priest school. Moving to this city is just to feel close to the woman that bore me who I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet. She died after child birth….after giving birth to me. She wasn’t really married to my father, they were courting and he disappeared along the pregnancy period and moved on with his life. He may be alive or dead I really don’t know. I try searching in the past to know him but the little information I got did not help with anything. I may have an earthly father who doesn’t exist anymore but I was raised by my heavenly father who will never disappear or abandoned me in difficulty. So, Anna…you see why me and Gumi…that’s Joel supposed father. We don’t relate in anyway. I have never gotten involved with worldly pleasure. Never…you mentioned Dinosaur night club, you mentioned being hit with a wood…is unfortunate that you think I’m the person that did all that. I will never hurt a woman or a man intentionally, I was called to guide, and serve all mankind and not to abuse. I’m not a perfect being, I’m a human like you, I make mistakes too. Only God is perfect…I’m only working towards perfection and hanging on the grace which God made available for us through Christ. Such grace shouldn’t be abuse and the privilege should not be taken for granted. My calling is different from many out there. I hold my priest vow to my heart…so dearly. Sex, money, fame all sort of worldly pleasure do not and will never interest or entice me because I’m focused in my calling and I have being groomed to remain celibate. We can still do the DNA test to ascertain if I’m truly Joel’s father…maybe this week or anytime you feel ready, just to assure you that I’m not who you think I am. I’m father James not Gumi…but I will always be a father to Joel. I never had one but I have become a spiritual father to many and not only Joel. Even if the DNA test reviews the truth of my innocent it will never stop me from being who I have always been.
I turned and looked at her and she was staring at me, tears glistered in her eyes.
“Are you alright Anna?
I asked her with a concerned tone.
“Sure, I am fine. Do you at some point hate me…I mean dislike me for all the trouble I put you through?
“I was only angry at how things escalated so fast. I innocently saved you that day from that accident and kept praying. I did not stop checking on you because it also gives me opportunity to meet and pray with many others in the hospital. I never expected the way things turned out. The Doctor attending to you informed me that you were few weeks pregnant but the unborn child was alright. I kneel at the holy sacrament three times in a day praying for you, your unborn child and many others going through different phase. When you woke up I was happy but I did not come immediately to see you until after a week. I visited and we got talking where you picked the name Anna for yourself among all the names I mentioned. You chose Anna which is a Hebrew name and it means grace. So despite your mistakes and short coming God grace is abundant in your life. You are only a victim of life uncertainty and I don’t blame you for anything that happened. It only happened because God allowed it, for many reasons him alone knows. Maybe for the souls that are been saved at the coffee shop, for returning to the only city I had only memory of my mother… for any reason God allowed this, is all for the best and to his glory because we are his workmanship…. a pencil in his hand. If he decide to take life away from us tonight, we can’t question him because he molded us in the beginning, we are only clay in his hands…
Everywhere became silent, the night has worn on. I knew it was time for bed.
“I need to go bed now. Remember to pray Anna before you sleep. Goodnight…
She sniffs severally, and try to clear her choked voice.
“Goodnight father James….thank you for everything.
I breathed in, nodded and walked down to my room.
I left her sitting alone in the parlor reminiscing over her life.
The next morning I was up and left for work at the grocery store after which I went to join my small gathering at the coffee shop.
After two months flew by, the bishop wanted me to really go for the DNA test so that I can return home in due time.
I decided to do that. I drove Anna and Joel to the hospital where the test was conducted.
When the result came I wasn’t Joel’s biological father. Anna said we should try in another hospital and we ended up going to four different hospitals and the result was the same.
My DNA did not correspond with Joel. I was not his biological father.
I kept my word to be a great father to Joel.
“We can both search for his father if you want. We can travel to wherever you think Gumi may live and search him out…but is only when you feel ready for such task. Do not be afraid, he will never hurt you again. God will go before us and make every crooked ways straight.
After another months moved by, it was two years already in the city. Anna felt is time.
She was willing to go in search of Gumi.
We started preparing for the task ahead.
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