by Whisper Rain
Whisper stared at Angelica’s letter for a long, long time. She forgot to blink, and the words on the page blurred. “Whisper, are you saved?” She started to tremble… then shake… the horrible descriptions of hellfire she’d heard long ago rang in her ears. “YES!” She told herself. “I prayed the prayer!.. I prayed it so many, many times. I meant it! I MUST be saved!”
Phrases from Charity sermons she’d heard around the house came back to haunt her… painstaking, detailed descriptions of all the actions that “naturally flow out of a life TRULY dedicated to God.” Whisper was not submissive. She did not give a hoot about “modesty”… not according to those people’s standards anyway. She loved her rock music. She valued discussion- and even arguments!- much, much more than the appearance of a “meek and quiet spirit.” Heck, there wasn’t an ounce of “meek and quiet spirit” in her body.
All that and more… a mountain of “biblical proof” of her lost condition piled up in Whisper’s mind, towering over her like a monster. It was as if God himself stood on top of the pile, glaring at her. She was obviously worthy of hell, and it didn’t matter how much she meant that prayer… her choices and preferences, and even her anger at being told what to do like a child, all witnessed against her, that she was nothing but a screw up. God was terrifying. Hell was terrifying. And Whisper felt like she was suspended between them, being dragged toward hell by a force she couldn’t control… her own identity.
Whisper was physically shaking with fear. She sat down. She feebly prayed the prayer again. Nothing. She rephrased it. Still nothing. Slowly, she made her way to her bedroom. She had to do something. Her mind was cracking. She rummaged around and found the dagger she had bought awhile back. She pulled it out of it’s sheath. It was shiny and beautiful. For a moment, Whisper wanted to hurt herself with it… it would be a distraction from the pain and fear that were gnawing at her stomach. She shook her head hard… NO. What if she messed up? What if she bled out and died? Hell was right there, waiting for her. She had to avoid it while she could.
She glanced up at her bedroom window. Through the screen, she could see sunlight sifting past the leaves of the tree outside. It was beautiful out there. She could get out. She could run. Maybe she could get away from the fear- she could find someplace to go where she wouldn’t have to hear that oh-so-humble voice with the funny accent… telling her what a failure she was… ever again. She got a grip on her dagger and decided to slash the window screen wide open and run. She paused for just a moment…
Suddenly there was a knock on the bedroom door. Whisper sheathed the knife. Her Dad came in. He took one look at her and came quickly over to sit on the bed beside her. He knew something was wrong, and he loved her… he didn’t ever mean to hurt her. He was confused too… he didn’t know what he was doing anymore. He loved Whisper, and he was proud to have her as his daughter. He was trying to figure out what it was that God wanted him to do, and he was sorry if she was getting hurt by his mistakes.
Whisper felt relief… Dad got it! He was struggling with all this too. Finally she didn’t feel so alone. If Dad was on her side, there was hope.
One of the things Dad felt bad about was that they were trying to figure things out all alone. He apologized to Whisper for not having a church to go to, with other young people she could be friends with. He told her that he and Mom had heard about a church that sounded interesting, like it might be more like what they were looking for. They were going to go check it out Sunday morning, and if it looked promising, they’d take the kids the next time.
Whisper didn’t care much for church… but anything was worth a shot.