Every since I walked into that Pentechostal church one Sunday evening at six years old and heard the visiting evangelist talk about hell, I’ve lived my life scared, always looking over my shoulder, wondering what or who would strike me down in the prime of my youth. It added an extra amount of nervousness to me, but though I suffer ulcers, anxiety atacks, cowardice, I vowed to myself that I would not give myself to my mother’s religion. After all, as my dad taught me, Christianity was for invalids, women and children. I was none of the above, even when I was a child.
My heart hardened like pharoah’s. I went about my training at NASA disgusted with myself, wishing I had never known those evangelical teachings at all. I envied those friends of mine who could womanize, drink, keep God where he belonged, somewhere out in utter darkness. I could not relax. Anytime I performed a dangerous activity, anytime they put me under for surgery, anytime I climbed a hill or had a close call in combat, or when I stepped in a commercial jet, lost myself in booze, I dreaded I would wake up, but not in my body, before the judgment seat of God knowing full well what my sentence would be, Satan, the ultimate prosecuter, sneering at me from before the judgment seat of God.
I imagined myself standing in a big group of forever to be damned. Most I did not know, but my grandfather was there, several of my cousins, my wife, and most of my friends. By the time I completed my training and readied for my first mission in space I started to find it hard to sleep at night. So I decided, once and for all, I would outrun Jehovah into the stars. I would sabatoge the mission and send myself flying out toward the stars. I would travel so far into space Jehova could not find me.