“Go ahead, ask away”

By The Columbia Chronicle

by Riley Hughes

Growing up, I most certainly was one of those “what if …” kids. I would tirelessly conjure up elaborate scenarios and questions from the extreme depths of my imagination, all of which I would direct towards my father. Of course, more often than not, he wasn’t quite sure about what would happen if you fell in a hole that went from one side of the earth to the other, nor did he know the exact and current location of Bigfoot, but he always answered my questions and scenarios to the best of his ability.

What I loved so much about interrogating him was not so much the answers he gave but how he gave them. Somehow he always managed to make each experience incredibly comical for me, which really encouraged me to develop an inquisitive approach to things from an early age.  Every family car ride became a new opportunity to pry into the thoughts of one whom I’ve always found to have an abundant source of common sense and humor.  I’m  sure that sometimes the questions I asked became quite annoying, but he always listened and never discouraged me from asking,  so I often look back and thank him for taking the time to think of a placeholder beyond a zillion ba- gillion to describe how many grains of sand were on the beach.

As I got older, I began asking my dad more serious questions about things like faith, for example. I used to hate going to church. It always meant waking up early, wearing uncomfortable clothes and counting my  yawns as I tried to focus on someone talking about things I didn’t understand. The pastor would read specific passages from the Bible and there would always be some word or phrase I couldn’t understand. When I started going to church, I was at an age that was a little too old for Sunday school, so most of the “oh everyone knows that” kind of material was foreign to me. So not only was I usually tired and uncomfortable, but most often this experience made me frustrated. Countless times I thought to myself, “Eh, I’ll just ask Dad on the way home.”

Therefore, the car ride home from church gradually turned into a more religious experience for me than actually going to church. I could ask my dad about anyone in the Bible and he always knew their role or influence in the passage. In most cases, I wasn’t even sure how to say their names correctly, and he could correct me midsentence, knowing who I was referring to.  At one point, I asked my dad how he knew so much about the Bible and his response was, “Well, son because I read the whole thing.” That seemed like such an impossible feat to me at the time, but I most certainly believed him.

As I became more exposed to the world of science within my classes at school, I had more and more trouble believing word for word what was said in the Bible. I had always had a great interest in fantasies and role-playing games, but as entertaining as they were, I thought of those scenarios in a fictional context. When I learned that Jesus turned water into wine, gave sight to the blind and walked on water, it felt as real to me as Santa Claus traveling to everyone’s house in a single night. So one day I turned to my dad, who to me was an infinite source of knowledge and I asked him about Jesus.

It was then that he gave me his most concrete answer. In a very skeptical tone, I said, “Dad, how did Jesus do these magical things everyone is saying he did, when nobody today can do those things?” And he said, “I don’t know son, there’s a lot of things I won’t come to understand, but I certainly believe it happened.” I trusted  my dad  with answers for all sorts of questions for years and the certainty in his voice gave me no reason to do otherwise.