Tuesday, 13 March 2012

BLESSED ASSURANCE IN A TIME OF SORROW.

Have you ever met somebody who continually treated you as a problem person, liable to mess up everything? I had the misfortune of meeting just such a character. This woman, who I refer to as Sister Roberta, was a thorn in my side for more than fifteen years.

From my upcoming How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity memoir, here's an excerpt about how I comforted a grieving grandmother in spite of Sister Roberta's profound misgivings.

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One Wednesday evening, Sister Eileen and her mother seemed preoccupied. As we sat in the sanctuary, awaiting Brother Herald, I asked, "Is something going on?"

Both women looked away from me as if they felt embarrassed. Then Sister Roberta broke the silence. "Little Closius died a few days ago. Linda was bathing him and when she left the bathroom to get a bar of soap, he slipped beneath the water."

"I'm sorry to hear that." I mumbled.

"We're having the funeral here on Saturday afternoon. You can come if you wish but don't ask any foolish questions, all right? I don't want Linda to start crying because of your impertinent questions. The last thing grieving people need is for somebody to ask about how it happened."

Around a dozen people attended the funeral for Jay's year-old son.

"If only I had brought the soap in first," Linda kept repeating to herself. "Why did God have to allow this?"

Words failed me as I shuffled my feet and gazed at the floor. Every answer that came to mind sounded trite.

After Sister Roberta served communion and gave a brief eulogy, she allowed the congregants, two or three at a time, to view Closius' body in Brother Herald's room. This inner sanctum interested me more than paying my last respects as Sister Roberta had always forbidden me to see it. A double-sized bed had been placed in the far corner. Next to it stood a varnished wooden chair and writing desk with a lamp on it. I noticed with some surprise that the small room had no windows in its pale blue walls.

Doing my duty, I glanced at the small, brown casket on the centre of the bed before I walked out of the room.

Linda's mother wept as she followed me out from Brother Herald's room. "Poor baby. I'll never see him again," she sobbed.

"You'll be able to see him again in the resurrection when Christ returns," I blurted.

Instead of upsetting her, as I feared, she exclaimed, "Oh yes, I'd forgotten about that. Thanks for reminding me."

I smiled, realizing that I comforted her with the eternal aspect of our lives.

While the congregation disbursed and Sister Roberta Gave several people driving directions to the cemetery, I asked her, "Can I come too?"

"No," she ordered, "You will stay here with us. Only the family members can attend the burial. You'll just get in the way anyhow."

In spite of this snub, I remained loyal to Thee Church and the supposed truth I learned there.

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How I Was Razed is the testimony of how God revealed his true character to me after charismatic house church elders misled me for more than fifteen years. You're welcome to contact me directly for more information about this upcoming paperback.