Monday and Wednesday evenings found me in Zuri’s car on my way to her church for Small Groups and Prayer Warriors.
The Small Groups meeting was held in the church’s Community Services Center. The first day I ever went I was welcomed and was promptly given a Bible. I was invited to take a seat.
I did so in style, plopping into an old dusty-looking loveseat of a vile pink color. For good measure I put my feet up to keep people from sitting next to me. They tried to strike up conversation, but as I was not encouraging it, they gave up.
When the study began, I was invited to sit in the circle of plastic chairs with them. I refused as civilly as I could. Zuri did not glare at me as Mara would have done. She placidly took her seat.
I did what was agreed: I sat, I listened. Zuri led the testimonies and prayer time. I didn’t kneel. I was angry at God, and told him so in my prayer—if it could be called a prayer.
A man with a balding head led the Bible study and discussion.
Yeah, Yeah. John 3:16. Everyone knows about that…
After the Bible study there were refreshments. Everyone seemed to brighten up. I saw coffee, and pastries and sandwiches and soup and fruit. I was not taken in, however. I remained where I was and watched everyone chat and stuff their faces. I hated them.
I knew what they could do. I was not taken in by their nice appearance.
8:30 came at last, time for me to go back home. I didn’t immediately spot Zuri, until I saw her praying with two other people in a quiet corner of the room. Suddenly I was incredibly exasperated. I had liked Zuri quite well before she found out my secret. Of all my mom’s friends she was the only one who was not toxic. She was kind, and she knew how to treat everything naturally from migraines to menstrual cramps. Every Christmas she gave each of us a small gift. She had taught me how to pay the piano years ago, and though I had stopped playing, I still enjoyed falling asleep to her Bach many a rainy afternoons.
Now I hated her with an intensity that was almost scary in my emotion-parched life. But what could I do? I’d approached God with a business proposition—what I got in the end was outright blackmail.
And I was trapped.
part 7 of If You Only Knew