It used to be that when someone asked me when I last set foot in a church, I had to really struggle to settle on a date.

Nowadays, I can always pinpoint it.

Haha, I haven’t turned religious. In fact, in all the times I’ve had a crisis come into my life, I never found comfort in religion. (I usually get angry instead – don’t tell me that my dogs don’t have souls and won’t be in the afterlife when I die! Otherwise, what’s the point?)

I’ve been finding myself showing up at my local Methodist Church around this time every year for the past four years now. It’s been a struggle for me, not only at the early-ish morning hour, but because the service is conducted in Japanese (the only one my grandmother will attend) and I can’t read 70% of the characters in the sacred text. But I figure it’s a small moment of inconvenience when the whole church pays homage to the anniversary date of my grandfather’s passing.

My grandfather lived through both World Wars, was placed in an internment camp, raised five children on a budget that would only feed about two, and lost his produce business because he practically gave everything away on credit. He was incredibly patient with me, picking out the chopped onions in a McDonald’s hamburger and didn’t get mad when I kept brushing against the freshly painted walls while the house was being repainted.

For a man who put up through so much and still managed to smile at everyone he met, I think I can sit through a one hour session in the House of God. Just for him.

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