Hi! It’s me! Lily!
It was a quiet Sunday.
I decided to go to church with the family, but only because I wanted to ask the pastor a very specific question. And, honestly, I’m not sure he appreciated it, haha!
After services, he was in front of the lectern shaking hands, and when it came my turn, he looked surprised. “Lily! I’m surprised to see you,!”, he said.
I just nodded. “I wanted to ask you a question.”
“I have a little sister.. not Beth.. who, well, tried to kill herself. What…. what happens to her?”
He frowned. “Let me greet all these people, and then we’ll talk.”
So, I waited patiently as the “pastor hand shaking line” grew shorter and shorter. So did the family.
He finally beckoned me over.
“So… what happens to her.” He sighed. “Honestly, I don’t know.”
“Huh?” I said eruditely. “You don’t know?”
“Truth is, Lily, there’s a lot we don’t know. We’ve got the Bible, which tells us some things, we think, anyway. We’ve got prayer. We’ve got theology.. but at the end of the day, it’s all a mystery. But what I can tell you is… that’s the girl who was homeless right and we had stay over at our house for a little while, right?”
He shook his head. “Girl’s had a hard life. And… she got assaulted while she was homeless, right?”
I nodded again.
“Well, I’ll say this. God is merciful. He knows what she’s been through. I… I think she’ll be alright.”
“But you don’t know.”
“I’ll tell you a secret, Lily. I don’t know too much more than you. I can recite the Bible and come up with interesting things to talk about every Sunday and I try to help where I can, but… at the end of the day, none of us will know until we die. All I can say is I have faith that God will judge us fairly, and hope that he’ll judge us very unfairly. After all, we all want better than we deserve, right?”
I lowered my head. “I guess,” I said quietly.
He patted my shoulder. “Don’t be a stranger, Lily. I know church can be boring, but… we all love you here. And tell Crystal to not be a stranger too, alright? We miss her.”
Suddenly I felt very small. I just smiled wanly and we left.
I was quiet on the drive home, but I was pleasantly surprised when we stopped for pancakes.
Chocolate pancakes are YUM.
But after we got home I changed out of my nice dress and into some more sensible clothes, and just kind of sat in my room and thought for a while.
Maybe I haven’t been fair, either.
I don’t know how I feel about God, still. And any God who’d send Crystal to hell for being tormented is no God of mine. But the pastor has been nothing but nice to me, and my family, and Crystal, and even the homeless. He seems to be trying, and I crapped all over them just because I was bored. Maybe… maybe I was selfish.
I don’t know if I want to go back to church, but maybe I should think about it.
This evening Dave grilled. It was nice. It’s always nice when he grills. Jack’s family came over too, and Grace and Jack and David and Beth and I (and Lily and Marie) played around in the backyard until it was time for them to go. It was nice. Our families don’t spend enough time together.