The Storm That Chased Me is a thrilling novel about the many emotions of life, all bound into one person - Dante Joseph Lanza - and his love for Maricela, a woman of compassion, dedication, and courage. Called Doopers by his friends and family, Dante goes through a quagmire of events as he strives to get healthy on his odyssey to ask for the hand of his girlfriend.
by Garasamo Maccagnone
As a married man, I lived inside a bubble of Catholicism for thirty two years. It wasn't until I was cast into the modern culture that I started bumping into a lot of new people, who, through conversation at meetings, counseling groups, or the lunch table, I recognized were conveniently creating a new God for themselves. I was astonished. I never knew it could be so easy! As I'm not prepared with any data on how many have converted away from the traditional Christian God, you'll just have to take my word on the growing numbers from my firsthand accounts. From my business associations, to my friends, to my family, or to my fans as an author, (which goes well beyond my mother and my Aunt Betty), there seems to be a growing trend away from the God taught to us in our Christian educations.
It was a breeze to find a new God. From my experience, to make the change one just had to sign on to the Match. God website. With my girlfriend Jenny at my side, I logged on at my apartment. The two of us were giddy at first, but were quickly paralyzed in fear from the traditional profiles and pictures of God as he was portrayed. There was a little too much Old Testament in the faces of the dudes we were looking at. In one profile, next to his picture, there were quotes from his son, Jesus that spoke of how no man could separate what God had brought together. Attached were letters from St. Paul and St. Aquinas, and many others who disinterested me. I had seen that God before. In my mind, he was too blunt. He was so brash he even included a rendering from Dante's, “Inferno,” in which Virgil and Dante stood in the pits of lower hell.
“We need to scroll down,” said Jenny, as little beads of perspiration formed above her brows.
“Quickly,” I answered. “There's too much justice and righteousness in that God,” I firmly stated. Jenny nodded.
Thankfully, there were so many Gods to choose from. In the Christian section, all of the profiles had pictures of Jesus. After quickly perusing twenty or more, our eye caught a picture of Christ that was a little less stern looking. “This one has sweet eyes,” said Jenny. She went right to the section where it talked about his likes.
“This could be perfect,” she stated gleefully. “It looks like he's more into forgiveness than the others.”
She was right. It was amazing. This God didn't have a problem with sex outside of marriage, adultery, contraception, abortion, or even, sodomy. This was a God of mercy. This was exactly what the two of us were looking for. He had no hang ups. He was a modern God who understood the plight of the people living in today's world.
“Should I send him a wink,” Jenny asked, enthusiastically.
“Yes, yes, we need not wait.”
As Jenny continued reading, I saw her reach for the mouse to click on the wink. Then she stopped. The arrow died in the text.
“Wait a second,” she lamented.
“What, what?” I asked, in an impatient tone.
“This God expects us to go to church once a week. See?” Jenny pointed to some small print at the bottom of his profile. “It also says that we must pray often.”
“Dammit!,” I shouted, pounding the desk with my fist.
It was frustrating. I had resigned myself to giving up. Next to me was a beautiful woman who I desperately wanted to make love to, yet, from my Catholic upbringing the words of all my teachers, priests, and nuns, weighed on me. I left Jenny's side and walked to the couch to sit down. My heart was so heavy and my conscience searched for justification for my actions. How can I go to church? I thought. Even though I knew that the God in that particular profile would forgive me for all of my sins at any time, I knew it would be difficult walking up the aisle to the altar. That God has a Cross in his church that hovers over you while at the altar. I'd have to look at it while accepting the Eucharist. That would be impossible, too difficult, I felt. To be faced weekly with having to self-examine myself was not acceptable. No more guilt, I stubbornly insisted on as my thoughts raced back and forth.
Then it happened. Jenny shouted, “Honey, get over here. You are not going to believe this.”
At the computer, I was instantly ecstatic as I read the profile of the new God Jenny had found.
It was unbelievable. You didn't even need to be religious it said. All this God requested was for his followers to be spiritual. You just had to hold him in your heart and connect with him directly. There was no church, no offertory baskets, no parking lots, and best of all, no Latin terms.
“In this church, we don't have to get on our knees for nothing,” exclaimed Jenny, jumping out of her seat to hug me. I pushed her away.
“Hurry, hurry,” I jovially spouted out. “Get us connected. Don't waste another second.”
In a click we were engaged with our new God. The two of us were overjoyed and frolicked around the apartment like school kids at the playground. We danced for a moment apart and then our eyes met and we embraced in a clenched tango that slowly played out and fed into the bedroom.
It was a late afternoon to remember - without the guilt, the repressed feelings, the dogma of the past zipping in and out of our programmed minds, the intimacy was unreal. In a higher state, finally free of restrictions, we expressed ourselves in a surreal way, a way that was beyond comprehension; a way that was raw, that was liberating, that was totally out of control.
But as evening came, a chill came to the room. The walls moved inward and I recall reaching for the blankets as we both turned our backs to each other. Breathing heavily, I faintly heard Jenny weeping into her pillow. Unable to sleep, and in fear of the darkness, I thought of Virgil, Dante, and Beatrice as I clutched two hands around my pillow.
Garasamo Maccagnone is the author of the novels, The Storm That Chased Me and St. John of the Midfield. Maccagnone is also the author of the children's book, The Suburban Dragon. He currently lives in Shelby Township, Michigan. You can friend him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/garasamo.maccagnone