Gods and Dogs - 05.11.98

As I may have mentioned in another piece of writing, I had a paper route that I did between the ages of 12 and 16. Through the course of those years, I met some really interesting people and had some very strange things happen to me. While more of them will probably show up eventually, I'll tell about one that really caught me off guard.

One of the things that was so interesting (and frustrating) about having a paper route was going around and collecting money at the end of every month. While some people were very secretive and shy (or never home), others would invite me in for a beverage and a chat while they went and got their money. Some times, I would sit and talk for 30 minutes or more before I realized that I had to get out and try to get some more money before dark.

An older couple lived in one of the houses that I used to deliver to, and they would always invite me in for a bit to chat as they wrote out the check each month. I usually didn't mind, because they had a couple birds and other pets that were pretty entertaining. Often times, they'd give me a snack to eat and a soda while one of them (usually the wife) slowly scrawled out the check and talked with me.

Then one month, I noticed that I didn't see the husband around as much as I used to. It was about 9 months after I had started delivering their paper, and I didn't really think anything of it. When I went and collected at the end of the month, he wasn't around, but I didn't ask where he was. Just as I was really starting to wonder where he had gone, I started seeing him around again.

One day, I was delivering the paper and I saw him outside in his bathrobe during the afternoon. While it was kind of strange, I didn't think too much of it and kept on delivering the paper. I would see him occassionally as the month went on, but I didn't talk with him.

After another month of the same thing, something finally happened. As I was sliding the paper inside their screen door one afternoon, I heard a noise off to my left and looked up to see him standing there. Once again, he was in his bathrobe, but this time he was holding his small dog in his arms and petting it.

At first he startled me, but I stood up and said "hello." Without answering my question, he started talking about everything and nothing in particular. He was speaking to me, but not really saying anything that made any sort of sense. After going on about something or the other, he stopped and started talking very seriously about how he didn't believe in God anymore, but it was ok because he still had his little dog. As he said this, he patted the dog on the head again with emphasis and started repeating the words over and over.

I didn't have any idea what I should say, and just as I was telling him that I should go, his wife came around side of the house and took ahold of his arm. She said something to him about coming inside, acknowledged me, and turned around and started going into the house with him.

I went home that night and told my mom about what had happened. She explained to me that he had Alzheimers (at first, I thought she said, "Old Timers") disease and what it did to a person. After we had discussed things for awhile, I still had one question that I still have never asked anyone, partially because it simply hasn't come up.

I want to direct my inquiry (and it is kind of hard to explain) toward someone within church, because it has to do belief and a church's theory on belief. My question is this: What if a person has acknowledges their belief in God at one point, but then states that they don't believe in God while they are in a state of disease (the above case) or mental trauma (psychological problems). Does the church (and this will probably depend on the demonination) still believe that they are saved?

That's it. I know it's a lame ending, but it's all I feel like saying about it (I'm sure you're bored enough already).