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Introducing Myself

By dswrites ~

Hello, all. This is Daniel Sanchez (a long-time friend of Jason Blue's and author of the post "The 'A' Word"). I just wanted to introduce myself. I would never enter a room in real life and just start talking without permission or invite, and certainly didn't want to do it here. So let me introduce myself.

English: Bexar County Courthouse, San Antonio,...
English: Bexar County Courthouse, San Antonio, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am 44 years old, husband to a wonderful wife who shares my non-theist outlook, father to two girls: a college sophomore studying psychology at Loyola University and a thirteen year-old who is, well, busy being thirteen. My heritage is Spanish. My ancestors came from Madrid and settled in Bexar county (San Antonio) Texas. My "inheritance," if you can call it that, it that I am the first-born male of a Baptist preaching family. My father is a professor of missions at a seminary. My brother is a missionary. My grandfather pastored a church for most of his life. My uncles are pastors. My great-grandfather was a pastor. You get the picture.

I was born in Panama in 1968 in the middle of a civil war. I was held at gunpoint when I was 2 days old. When I was 4, my baby sister was diagnosed with Leukemia. We moved to the States (Atlanta, Georgia specifically) to seek medical aid. She died in my mother's arms. My sister was 2. I was 5.

I am divorced. The product of an unfaithful wife whom I was with for 14 years. My relationship with my older daughter is strong. The younger one is very much like her mother. I have married into 2 sons - one a 23-yr old former Marine with a son of his own and a lovely girlfriend, the other a 21 yr-old college student who is all about the girls and not so much the studying. The younger lives with his dad, the older lives with us.

I have been a "doubter" since childhood, and a "Super-Secret Doubter" since my teen years, when it was made clear to me that questions made most of the people in my life uncomfortable at best and desperately worried for my eternal soul at worst. I never received any satisfactory answers about my sister's death and God's role in it. I decided it was better to believe there was no God than to believe there was one who would do that on purpose. Paraphrasing every mother's edict, since I "Couldn't say anything nice about God, I shouldn't say anything at all."

I became a decent actor concerning this topic, capable of leading prayers, smiling at the right moments, etc. Later in life I became a real actor (briefly). Eventually, I found it hard to play roles that weren't me. The irony of that did not escape me. So I turned my creative side to communication, writing, and design. My current wife loves that part of me and I am one of the truly fortunate who gets daily support for everything I do.

I may never tell my parents about my beliefs. They certainly suspect, but we have never discussed it. My father is in his mid-70's. He is in excellent health, but I don't want him to spend his last 15+ years on this Earth locked in debate and worry over my soul. For her part, my mother would take it as a personal rejection of her beliefs and not a fitting response for her having brought me into this world. She would feel she already lost one child, but "at least she's in Heaven." To lose another and have him burn in Hell is not an option.

I once tried to talk to my father. I was 15. We were working on the car together. I asked him, "If God told you to kill me - would you?" He hesitated a lonnnnnnnng time, and it sincerely scared me. I don't remember his answer. It was half "Don't worry, that would never happen," and half "Well, son, some stories are more for teaching, you can't take the whole thing as fact..." I just remember he was as scared about telling me an answer as I was about hearing one. Both of us didn't want it to be the wrong one. The truth was - there was no good answer. It's either disloyal for him or horrifying for me. The thought that he could hear a voice in his head and take it seriously stayed with me for quite some time.

If he went through with it - what kind of a sadistic God would require that? Oh, yeah. The one that killed my sister. HIM.

If he didn't go through with it - he's defying a direct command from a God who hasn't spoken to anyone for thousands fo years and chose him. Beyond that, he's defying his whole life, everything he believes in, everything he taught us, everything he taught anyone ever, everything he was ever taught by his father...he's saying you can disobey God if you don't agree with Him.

It was theological checkmate.

Looking back, I think I was just hoping for some kind of reassurance. That my world was secure and my father's love was secure. I wanted to feel safe. I think that's what a lot of us want. To feel safe, so that then we can go out and do the things that need to be done in the rest of our lives. That's not an unreasonable request.

So I think a lot about how I can be a benefit to the world in a real way. A tangible way. What I can do for The Good. That much of my upbringing is very much a part of me, and I am grateful to my family for that. I value kindness. I am interested in your life, especially if you are very different from me. I let others finish their sentences when they talk, and I will give you the benefit of the doubt in every situation.

That's my introduction. That's who I am. I hope I can make a positive contribution to the group here. I'm glad to meet you all.

And I'm REALLY looking forward to hearing what you have to say.