Finally! Whisper gleefully jumped into her car and took off toward the Dietz’s house. She knew Angelica well enough to know that things wouldn’t be strained between the two of them because of their little exchange through letters awhile back. She had written a somewhat apologetic letter back to Angelica after her salvation was questioned, and had carefully kept her letters very vanilla ever since. Angelica was a picture of grace and forgiveness, as always, and Whisper felt no need to worry.
She finished the long drive, and all of the Dietz girls were happy to see her! She felt the comforting, familiar sensation of being around people she understood. If that new church did nothing else good for her, at least it made the Dietz’s funny little religious quirks seem almost cute by comparison… Whisper shivered… she wasn’t going to think about that place or those people. Not here. This weekend was going to be fun!
And it was. All of the girls were growing up, and had tons to talk and laugh about. The Dietz’s always had lots of small children and babies around, and things were kind of chaotic, but definitely never boring. Whisper enjoyed her time with them. Finally, the last night of her visit rolled around…
This part is going to necessitate a break in the storyline, because I still don’t know how to explain what happened. Back then, the only vocabulary I had to explain spiritual things was the one I had been given… first by the little backwoods Baptist church, and then by Charity Tape Ministries, with a few other random evangelical sermons overheard here and there. So when I had an intense spiritual experience that night, I was under the impression that the only thing that COULD have happened was that God “saved my soul”… even though my experience was nothing like any salvation experience I’d ever heard of. Praying the sinner’s prayer never changed anything for me- and there was no prayer involved that night.
Was it a vision or a dream? Was it a stress-induced hallucination? Was it an out of body experience? Did God pick me up and hug me? I have to be honest, I don’t know.
All I know for sure is that I experienced something, and I still choose to believe it was God. The room was crowded and no one else saw or heard anything, and I didn’t have the slightest inclination to tell them. I just kept it to myself.
I would have liked to keep it hidden, just between me and God, but as a result of that night I had a major shift in priorities & the results didn’t stay hidden. After that night, I wasn’t afraid anymore. What I had experienced was warm & loving & understanding, and it made all the problems in my life seem kind of petty by comparison. I didn’t want to fight battles with people anymore- most of them just didn’t appear to be worth the effort. Honestly, I just wanted to love and trust and be happy- and make other people happy. I believed I had finally found God, and I LOVED what I had found with all my heart.So I trusted, and I loved… and everything I did after that point, I did with good intentions… but I was horribly, terribly naive. Looking at the world through new eyes of love and trust made everything seem so simple and beautiful to me… but the fact is, not everyone should be trusted. The world is full of people who want to pass themselves off as righteous spiritual giants, and who don’t seem to care how many people they crush in the process.
Thus begins a new chapter in Whisper’s life, in which she was happier than she’d ever been… and also stupider than she’d ever been. “Loving others” very quickly turned into suspending her own common sense to let them be right. A strange hybrid of picky neatness and sloppiness was “true beauty.” Up was down, hypocrisy was a fine art… and Whisper began to learn how to “lovingly” sweep things under the rug.
That night, Whisper slept soundly. In the morning, she said goodbye to the girls and headed home. Whisper was happy.
In all the “salvation messages” Whisper had ever heard, they instructed you to tell someone about it after you’re “saved.” She brushed off the idea. What had happened to her was between her and God, and telling somebody about it was completely unnecessary. The idea that someone needed to “keep her accountable” was ridiculous. Nobody had been able to point her to God before, so why should she think they’d be able to keep her close to him now that she’d found him?
Whisper got home and got quietly back into the swing of things. Nothing was different except her heart. She was happy. What she was wearing seemed laughably unimportant now. She had seen God, and she loved him! Why should clothes matter to her?
Sunday rolled around, and for the first time in her life, Whisper was excited about going to church. The strangeness of the place and the people seemed trivial- here were people who loved God too! So what if they dressed funny. They did it because they LOVED GOD, right? Maybe the funny clothes weren’t necessary, but Whisper wasn’t about to fault her new friends. She was thrilled to have common ground. The best common ground ever!