My religion teacher explain us one day that every good catholic had to keep the ten commandments and if not would go to hell (she said it not so abruptly, but that was what I understood). I didn’t know too much Spanish yet and for me the only meaning of “keep” was to put something in a drawer or a closet so it wold be safe. I wasn’t sure either of what the ten commandments were, so I looked for it in my book and found a picture of a very old man with a white beard and two tablets with strange signs on them.
When I went home I began to look for the tablets in all the closets and chests of drawers and boxes and found nothing alike the picture and began to worry about my family’s salvation. So the next day I asked the teacher if this keeping the commandments were only for spanish catholic people, my last hope, because in that case, we, being Croatians would not be obliged to keep the thing. But the teacher was rotund: Everybody had to keep the commandments if not, to hell.
In my desperation I came back at home and began to look at high places in the closets, climbing on a chair I put on a table to reach them. And then my mom found me and made me came down immediately asking me what on earth I was doing. I ask her if we were keeping the tablets of the ten commandments and where. But she had the same language problems that me and said no, so I began to cry convinced that we were doomed. When I told her about the teacher explanations, she said to me that we were “observing” the commandments and that was enough to go to heaven and avoid hell, so I stop crying.
When my father arrived from work I told him the story again. He knew the various meanings of the “keep” word and we all laugh at my confusion. I finally could stop worrying about our salvation and looking for the tablets of the ten commandments, but never could save me from the laughing of my family from that little story.
Now I only hope to really keep the Ten Commandments in my complicated life, looking for and finding God in everyday things, as my mom and dad taught to me when I was a little girl or a difficult teenager, with their words and above all with their way of life I witnessed day by day for so many years.