You know what I like about sleeping? You don’t have to think about anything. I don’t have to wonder about our next football game – and whether the coach will let me play. I don’t have to think about Sarah. I am not sure what attracts me to her, anyway. She’s okay. I guess. Maybe…for now. I don’t even have to think about school. After three years and two months, I am ready for…I don’t know what. I can’t figure out why I’m on this earth. What’s my purpose? I don’t have to think about that.
I’ll miss football. I like the challenge. I like lifting weights. I know, I’m a little crazy. I really like my fraternity brothers. These guys are family. Nobody judges anybody. I know I like the parties. The girls. The beer. I guess I just really like hanging out with my friends. And…I like sleeping.
I really like sleeping because I don’t have to think about what the hell I’m going to do with my life after I leave this university. After three years focused on criminal justice, I’m pretty sure it’s not for me. What is for me? I don’t have a frickin’ clue. Yeah – that’s what I like about sleeping.
My advisor, Mr. Milton, is a really cool guy. Man, I love that guy. He’s dropping hints I should get my master’s degree. He recruited me to this school. He wants me to go to some graduate school in Florida. That’d be cool. Palm trees, sunshine – no cold Indiana winter. I could do that. But then what? Be a cop? Work with the juvenile system? FBI? Guard the President?
My favorite thing about sleeping is that I don’t have to think about God. Yeah, that’s right. I’m tired of thinking about God. I grew up in a Christian home. My parents are over-achievers. My mom teaches in a Christian school and my dad used to be a pastor. Then he became a consultant to churches. He’s an insane over-achiever. You wouldn’t believe!
He took me on a trip to Africa when I was 12. He taught thousands of pastors. I just hung around. The best thing is that we went hunting in the bush before the conference. I shot a wildebeest. It was awesome. All the “God stuff” was okay – maybe a little over the edge.
Me? I liked youth group. We had a youth pastor – Eric – he was cool. He once caught me smoking a joint. My parents were away on vacation, overseas or somewhere. Some friends came over and brought some weed. I thought I’d try it. Just then, Eric shows up. I thought, “Holy shit! We’re busted!”
Eric was really pissed. That hurt. He told my parents when they got home – with me in the room. They were all serious until Eric left. They asked if I learned anything. Like – what are you going to say? I shook my head and looked at my feet. They laughed. They thought it was funny I got busted. My parents cared about me – I felt that. But word got out at youth group. A few people – and a couple of leaders – made fun of me. I felt betrayed – and judged. I thought church was supposed to be about forgiveness. And acceptance. I felt judged. My heart began to drift from church.
Then Eric encouraged me to lead our youth group. I liked that. A few months later, our church got low on money and they shit-canned Eric. I even talked at the meeting. He got screwed. I didn’t like church for a long time. I’m not sure I liked God, either.
I started college. I’d go home on weekends. Our family is pretty tight. We have fun. Joke. My parents aren’t stuffy-religious. I don’t get their commitment. Some things about church frustrate them. But, they’re loyal. A little over-the-top-loyal, I think.
In my second year at university, I got into Sig Ep – a fraternity. It’s awesome! I love living in community. Most of the guys are on the football team. And, did I mention the parties? We’re experts at parties. Our fraternity rocks! It’s a family. Total acceptance. No judging. Like church is supposed to be.
During my second year, I didn’t go home as much on weekends. The parties went late. I slept in most Saturday and Sunday mornings. I didn’t miss church that much, to be honest. When I was home, I just mostly went out of respect to my parents. Church was mostly boring. And the music sucked.
By the third year at school, I became a committed, party-hard fraternity guy, and loved it! I stopped going to church with my parents. I found a community who accepted me for who I was – my fraternity. It was liberating. My parents tolerated it. They encouraged me, but didn’t hassle me. I was striking out on my own.
My Sig Ep brothers became my new primary family. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. Even my sister, Laura. She got married to Jason. He’s part geek, but he’s okay. My new home is with my friends at school. Why not?
My dad tried to weasel me back to church, or God, or…whatever. He tried to get me to go to the Christian Campus House here at Tri-State University. None of my fraternity brothers were part of that. I didn’t know anyone there. My parents came to visit and met me at this church near school. I showed up – last minute. Half hung-over. Two, maybe three hours of sleep. I can fake it! I knew what they were up to. I was surprised – one of our football coaches was there. He said, “Hi,” but never talked about it at practice.
And God? I don’t know. I guess I believe. Or maybe not. Who cares? I mean, besides my parents. Yeah, and probably my sister. But what difference does it make, anyway? I’m scared. I mean, if I was a real Christian, I couldn’t really have fun any more. Christians don’t have fun, do they? That’s what I like about sleeping the most. You don’t have to think about stuff. You don’t have to think about God. Or life.
I remember my pastor, Paul, always talks about life after death. I can’t relate. Hell, I don’t even like to think about life after college. You don’t have to think about anything when you are sleeping. And, after a few beers, I sleep real good.
The J-Dog Journey:
Where Is Life?
by Kent R. Hunter