Vol 11, Num 4 :: 2012.02.17 — 2012.03.01
Mr. Godsey. An unfortunate name. Not unfortunate for him, more for me. So close to God Himself. Godsey, just like one of Many Names of Our Lord.
I am a PK. That stands for Preacher’s Kid. Since my father’s first name is Pastor the P can also stand for Pastor’s Kid. Because I pay very close attention in Sunday School, Morning Service, Evening Service (no, I don’t even want to watch Lassie on Sunday nights at seven — we’d rather be in Church), Choir Practice, and Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, I think this has something to do with Original Sin and The Old Adamic Nature. I am predestinationed to be a Good Example. I must be a Good Girl and so that my father can preach to the Lost and Dying World.
I am seven.
I spill oatmeal on the dining room table and it runs off the table onto the red carpet we have in the Parsonage, just like what we have in the Church. My mother and father have an Eye for Beauty, so that is why we have red. I would say it is like the Blood of Christ that Washes White as Snow, but it has some black in it and that would be disrespectful since everyone knows that Black stands for Sin. There is no way to hide the oatmeal on the red and black. It looks like my bowl was sick and puked and now I feel the same way. I am not a Good Girl when this happens.
My Calling as a PK is a very serious thing and I can prove it. Because of the oatmeal, my mother who is Pastor’s Wife goes and gets her Bible. I am hoping for, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Even given the fact that I am not a “he,” it means there is some time to have some spills, and then when I am old, I will not depart from being a neat and tidy oatmeal eater.
But now she teaches me a new verse. She tells me that this one is about the Pastor as she Directs My Attention to the First Great Epistle to the Timothys:
One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?
Underlined. So you see?
If I am not a Good Girl, my father cannot be Pastor anymore.
This is how it goes. Shopping at the A&P is about the Tithes and Offerings. I know this because one time after a really good sermon, the Holy Spirit told six people to go forward to be saved. After they Prayed the Sinner’s Prayer and went home, I saw Deacon Slayter scoop up the offering and put it right into my father’s pocket, even though it was supposed to go to God for the Furtherance of His Kingdom. I was happy because we could get some groceries after two days of my grama’s canned tomatoes.
But even worse, if my father cannot be Pastor, the Great Downward Spiral will begin. We will get kicked out of the Parsonage, homeless, everyone will cry, my baby sister will die, and we will all surely go immediately and straight to Hell. I am responsible for my family, and Yea, Even the Uttermost Parts of the World. From the Guttermost to the Uttermost. No one in the Lost and Dying World will get saved, not even Mr. Godsey who is a Caaath-o-liiik, according to my Mother. (It’s true because I saw an Idol on his dashboard once, and they believe in Idols. This is as bad as Deee-vooooris-eeee and Allll-caaaall-ik because in the Eyes of God, all sins are the same.) I don’t even know how he got to be the Principal or John F. Kennedy got to be the President. It’s a good year for those people who eat Fish Patties every Friday in the Cafeteria. Probably they are taking over the world and the Pope is the Anti-Christ.
But that’s not the story that’s Waying Heavy on My Heart right now.
We live in the Parsonage next to the Church and across the street from school. There is a subdivision down the road with thousands of children who need help to get saved and also to cross the street. So Mr. Godsey sends the best boys, the School Safeties with Orange Chest Straps to be sure no one dies.
I tell my mother I have to leave early so I can cross the street with the Safeties, but she says “Oh, you don’t have to do that. Just cross in front of the house.”
This is a very big problem between Good and Bad and now I have a very big decision to make. I don’t want to take the Broad Road that Leads to Destruction. Mr. Godsey himself told me to cross with the Safeties and go back on the other side with the rest of the kids. Even if it’s a lot longer, is that too big a sacrifice to avoid The Great Downward Spiral?
But I also must obey my mother or I will surely die young — probably any second now because the Bible says if I obey my parents in the Lord I will have a Long Life in the Land. Or maybe the Rapture will occur and I will be left behind like in the picture in the Foyer and the Pope will burn 666 into my forehead.
I’m thinking hard. The best plan is to run fast as my mother practices Runs and Chords for Sunday (I’m learning those, too!), cross the street with the Safeties, put my hood up and pray my mother will not go to the bathroom and look out the window on the way.
I get caught. She calls me back and shows me how to cross right in front of the house. She thinks I am afraid of getting hit by a car, but that would be Heaven compared to the Sure and Holy Wrath of God.
So I obey her and run all the way to school so the Safeties don’t see me. I am going to have to do this until the end of the Sixth Grade.
I am Reported by the Safeties. I know because they and their Orange Chest Straps stand around me and tell me so. I think I should kill myself like Mr. Maynard did, but I don’t know how and it is The Unforgivable Sin and for sure my little sister will die of starvation like those little Heathen babies in the Missionary Slideshow. This is the Show that always ends with the Sunset over Rhodesia or Venezuela and, “The fields are ripe unto harvest. Won’t you pray that the Lord of the Harvest Sends Forth Laborers?” Then there is the passing of the Prayer Cards and the Love Offering Plate, which I think is different than the Tithes and Offerings Plate that we get. While I don’t care much for my sister, it doesn’t seem at all right to cause her death.
I was Reported and now I wait. I can’t sleep and I can’t even poop. I can’t tell anyone about The Reporting and I can’t let them see me cry.
On the Third Day I am brought to Mr. Godsey guarded by the Orange Chest Straps. I look for the handcuffs.
I have to cry as we go down the grey hall. I am the Prisoner and there is War Between Heaven and Hell (no other options — only the Ungodly believe in Purgatory which is definitely not in the Bible).
Mr. Godsey is waiting. I try to stop crying by staring at his greasy black hair that looks just like the inside of a mushroom. He is the tallest man I have ever been in the same room with, probably close to seven feet long, although that mushroom effect might have something to do with it. The Body Guards slam the door they all gang up on me and it isn’t fair. As a Lamb to the Slaughter.
“So. The Safeties tell me that you have been crossing in front of your house. Is this true?”
“The Safeties saw you do it.”
“I didn’t.” It is true what I learned in Sunday School with Mrs. Watson — one little lie leads to another and before you know it you are a murderer.
“No. I didn’t.”
I don’t want to but I pee my pants. The snot is running all over. And then I throw up the canned tomatoes.
I am alone in my sin. I do not deserve the Wonderful Grace of Jesus and I will never be able to poop again.
I kneel before the toilet and the Throne of God Almighty. Eve and me Eat the Fruit of the Garden and cause the Great Downward Spiral.
It is finished.