Monday, January 24, 2011
Today's muse: Sunday Scribblings
Today's muse: Eternity.
Some stories need to be told. Miranda's begins here. And now, it continues...
* * *
“Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.”
It wasn’t her sin, but Miranda didn’t know what else to do. She knew God had all the answers; faith was not something she lacked.
“What is it, my child?” Father Andrew prompted her when she hesitated.
Even her parents didn’t know. She couldn’t tell them. Wouldn’t. It would destroy the family. She could live with the memories that haunted her dreams, but there was a small matter that pulled at her.
“Father.” Miranda closed her eyes, prayed for strength. “Father, when bad people die, are they forgiven no matter what they did?”
“If a person repents—is truly sorry for their sins—then, yes, they are forgiven and will join our Lord in Heaven.”
Miranda nodded in the darkness of the confessional. That wasn’t what she wanted to hear.
“What if they did something that is unforgiveable?”
“Miranda, what have you done that is so unforgiveable?”
She wasn’t surprised when Father Andrew addressed her by name. There were no secrets in a small town. Well, very few.
“It’s not me, Father. It’s…someone I know. He made me…he did bad things. Very bad things.”
Father Andrew was silent, his silhouette a blur behind the mesh partition. The thin padding on the kneeler offered little support and Miranda’s knees began to ache.
Father Andrew coughed. “Forgiveness must come, not only from God, Miranda, but must come from us.”
“I don’t understand, Father.”
“You must forgive as well.”
She must forgive? She must forgive the sins of the one who destroyed her childhood, who forever changed how she viewed relationships, shattered her ability to trust a man—be with a man?
“But I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Fingers of ice crept over her heart, the pulsing beat slowed, life-giving fluid all but stopped.
“God will forgive if He is asked for forgiveness. It is those who cannot forgive who will face eternal damnation.”
“What?!” Miranda was outraged. “Are you telling me that because I cannot forgive my grandfather for destroying my life, that I’m the one who’s going to hell? And that slime is going to be welcomed into Heaven with open arms?”
“Miranda, the church teaches us that forgiveness is most blessed. In forgiving, we receive the Holy Spirit.”
“The church teaches this?! The church!” Miranda’s voice was shrill. “Fuck the church, Father. The God I believe in would not treat me like that.”
To his credit, Father Andrew didn’t flinch at the vulgarity. He merely shrugged his indifference.
“That is how it is, Miranda. If you do not forgive, it is you who will be damned for eternity. No one else. Only you.”
She opened her mouth, clamped it shut again. The tiny cubicle smelled like wet hay. She stared through the partition at Father Andrew’s blurred profile, his head bowed in prayer. Or was it shame? He should be shamed, she thought. How could he believe that bullshit?
“I want you to pass on a message, Father.” Miranda’s voice was soft.
Father Andrew’s silhouette leaned closer.
“Tell your god I’m leaving his church. The God I know wouldn’t try to sell this crap.”
Without looking back, she left the confessional and walked out of the church.
* * *
Miranda's story continues.