Society V.S. Church

February 4, 2017

    This typical frigid Sunday morning in January, started the same as any other Sunday. What a better way to start the day, than to start the day in God’s house. I loved Sundays, it was a time for me to show my adoration to God. I prepared myself for the day by putting on my dress, lipstick, then the finishing touch, high heels.  Getting in the car, I see a  family moving into the house to the right of mine. Who knew that after worshipping every Sunday, I would be led to Hell’s door step.
Going to church was my favorite part of the week. I loved listening to the high sopranos of the choir! More importantly I admire that I have someone bigger than myself to live up to. I was a very devoted Christian, attending church every Sunday without fail. I taught Sunday school, with great enthusiasm, to the younger kids, ages 5-10.  Every Sunday night at 9 P.M. I went and cleaned the church preparing for weekday masses, funerals, or other services the church offers.  When I cleaned the church, I always tried to make the wood floors shine like the sun on a hot July day. The work was monotonous, scrubbing old wood trying to make it look new, brushing back and forth, back and forth to no avail.   In the winter’s cold, and windy days I would wake up at 5 A.M. to shovel and disperse sidewalk salt, on the steps and sidewalk making it safe for his followers. I knew that someday,  God Almighty himself would thank me for taking care of his home.
After teaching Sunday school, I asked my father if we could cook supper for the new neighbors that we saw moving in on the way to church. My father said, “ Mary, that is a divine idea! We will make our family’s secret lasagna with warm garlic bread, salad and a cake for dessert.   It will give our new neighbors a warm, cordial welcome!” We began cooking our family’s life-long secret recipe. My dad and I worked together to make the lasagna. I always loved cooking with my dad. It was a tradition to dance and sing to music while cooking. Dad loved listening to smooth jazz from the 60’s. I asked him if we could listen to Christian music because we were ministering to our neighbors like God welcomed us to his world.  My dad said, “Mary, you make me so proud of you.  You have become a gracious, generous, loving woman. I am so blessed to have you as my daughter.” Hearing this made my heart melt and I beamed with pride. I knew at this moment that my father and I had a bond that would last forever. We finished making the meal, while fresh smells filled the air. The cheese over the lasagna was melted perfectly, the garlic bread was soft and buttery, the salad glistened with dressing and the cake was absolutely beautiful. 
Dad and I walked over to the new neighbor's home to deliver the meal. My father led the way across the snowy street. As we traveled across the street and up their driveway, my heart began to race.  I was amazed to see how beautiful, radiant their home was in a at closer sight. Peering in the window, seeing the yellow marigolds, blending in perfectly with the other types of flowers reminded me of God’s gardens.  It was as though God designed their home. After getting lost in the beauty of their home, my father knocked on the neighbor's front door.  A short, petite woman who appeared to be in her thirties came to the door. She was wearing a beautiful dress with flowers on it. The lady smiled with her stunningly white teeth, and said, “Hello, can I help you?” My dad responded by greeting the woman, and then introduced our family. The lady introduced herself as Jennifer Stonebaur, then welcomed us into their home. The home decor  was stunning. The inside of the home looked better than the outside! A stone fireplace was in the corner of the room while  a huge flat screen television  mounted above the fireplace blasted out a vibrant, clear picture along with surround sound.. The fire induced a warm welcome to all who entered because the vibrant flames through amazing heat giving a welcoming feeling. Jennifer called her family to stop unpacking and come to the living room.  My father handed the meal to Jennifer was extremely  grateful, because the movers had not  moved the appliances from their old house yet. The family gathered in the dining room, as Jennifer's husband asked what that delicious aroma was. Jennifer had introduced her husband as Mike, and her daughter, around my age, as Skyler. Our parents sat at the huge wooden dinner table, which had reminded me of the clean wood in the church. Skyler and I went to her room while the parents talked for an hour or longer. Skyler and I had a lot in common. Skyler was very active in the Presbyterian church. She cleaned her church, and helped in many other ways. Skyler and I talked while sitting on her bed, which seemed to be the only thing in her room unpacked. My father said it was getting late and we should head home. On our way home, I told my parents how much Skyler and I have in common. I knew at that moment I had made a friend that would last a lifetime.
The next day, I went over to the Stonebaur’s house to help them unpack. Skyler and I immediately started to organize her room. First, we unpacked her clothes and hung them in her walk-in closet. Shoes were on the floor organized by type tennis shoes, dress shoes, heels, or flats. We hung her pants on hangers and organized them in the order of colors on the color spectrum. Then, we arranged her shirts from long sleeve to short sleeve. Her closet was so organized. Next, we organized all her makeup inside her marble vanity. As we continued to unpack, we talked about all the things we liked to do.  I could not help but to notice how pretty Skyler looked today. I was amazed by how perfect Skyler seemed. After working all day, we had one final step to finish before going to eat pizza. We needed to hang Skyler’s cross in her room. Skyler let me decide where I thought the cross should go. I had decided that the cross should go above her bed, because that is where she would spend most of her time when she is in her room. Skyler thought that was a great idea! Mr. and Mrs. Stonebaur called Skyler and I to come eat. Skyler and I walked down the hallway and were overwhelmed by the smell of cheese pizza, our favorite. Sitting at the wood table, Mr. Stonebaur served us, while Mrs. Stonebaur poured the drinks. I felt so welcomed by the Stonebaur’s.
I went home after eating dinner, it was already 9 o'clock and I had school the next day. I knew Skyler was staying home to help finish moving. Skyler would soon be a student at  Lincoln High School like me. Skylers parents had already requested her transcripts from her old high school and requested Skyler have the same classes as me.  I went to bed that night, and I started to think about how much Skyler meant to me. I had a feeling about Skyler that I had not felt with anyone else. Skyler made me feel special. She had the ability to make me smile, even if I was sad.  I began to think that maybe I was in love with Skyler. It was at that moment that all the questions in the world rushed into my brain. But how could this be? I can’t be in love with another girl. God will never accept me. My family won’t accept me. How do I change how I feel? I could not take all these thoughts at once. I began to cry. I do not known how to change my feelings about Skyler. Skyler was who I am in love with, and now I’m expected to change how I feel just so I can be accepted. I knew Skyler’s church allowed same sex marriage and wondered if my church’s views had changed since same-sex-marriage became legal last year. After an hour of crying, I must have fallen asleep.
The next morning, I woke up, got out of bed and headed down stairs. I went towards the fridge to get the milk. I poured the cold milk into a glass and sat next to my dad who was reading the local newspaper. I took a drink, then began to ask my dad what he thought about same-sex-relationships. My dad explained that in the church's eyes same-sex-relationships are considered diabolical. I was speechless. My dad asked, “Mary, are you okay? Do you need to tell me something?” I could not speak. No matter how hard I tried. It seemed as if the whole world was against me. The man who died so I could be forgiven of my sins, will no longer forgive my sins. I ran into my bedroom, tears were pouring down my face. My heart, shattered, and I was heavily burdened.  I could hardly breath. Is it worth living without my family’s acceptance? Falling to my bedroom floor. I had never felt so alone. After minutes of hopeless thoughts, my dad was beside me. He had no clue what I was going through.   Doing anything to calm me down, he rubbed his fingers through my hair as I cried on his shoulder. I began explaining to him that I had feelings for Skyler. I told him, “I am in love with Skyler. Skyler makes me feel like I'm everything to her. We have a connection that's deeper than friendship in my eyes. I have not talked to her about how I feel about her, because I knew that God would not accept me. Dad, I've tried to get rid…” My dad interrupted me, as if he read my mind. “Mary, I have spent all 47 years of my life believing in Catholicism, but there would not be a minute in time that I would not change my faith in order to ensure my daughter's happiness. I know what it's like to fall in love with someone. I feel in love with your mother when I was around your age. I know you never got the privilege to know your mother but she was everything like you. I would have given anything to cure the cancer that took her away from me.” Dad had never talked much about my mother to me. My mom died shortly after giving birth my to me and my twin sister. During the pregnancy, doctors found a tumor on her heart. Doctors informed my parents that they could not save both mother and the two fetuses. The procedure consisted of stopping her heart, which would result in immediate miscarriage. My mother was a very giving woman. She denied surgery and life, so my sister and I could have a happy life.There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't feel guilty. My dad continued, “ You, like your mother, will do what you believe is right. If you're in love, do what is right for you. I will support you no matter what life brings our way” It was at that moment that I knew my dad would accept me and help me find a way to be happy. The next day I went to Skyler's house and explained my feelings for her. Unbelievingly Skyler had felt the same way about me. Skyler respected my church's views, therefore she did not want to tell me how she actually felt about me. Skyler and I decided that with the support of our families we could try to make things work as a couple. Ever since that day, it seemed like Skyler never left my side. My dad and Skyler's parents bonded closely, and spent much time together. A few months later, my dad and I joined the Presbyterian church where the Stonebaur’s attended. The church shared a lot of the same beliefs as our old church, but accepted same-sex rights.
Life came together over the next few years. Skyer and I went to college together at Grand Canyon University where we both studied to become Presbyterian ministers. After graduating at the age of 24, Skyler and I got married in the same church we both attended at the time. We later became ministers of this church. During a church missionary to help after an earthquake in Hawaii, we found a 2 year old boy who lost both mother and father. Skyler and I adopted the boy, Luke. We attached both of our old houses, where we used to live. We live happily in a combined house with Skyler’s and I’s parents both. I am truly blessed. I would not ask for God to write my story any other way.

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