Thursday, February 23, 2012

Part I: The Last Time They Spoke

Danielle, in her early 50's, was in her living room watching a soap opera on TV. She heard a buzzing sound and noticed that her cell phone was vibrating across her coffee table. She leaned forward, holding her bathrobe against her chest, and looked at the caller ID. It was Jen, her daughter. She smiled and grabbed the phone.

Danielle: Jen, hi, how are you?
Jen: Hey mom, I'm doing good, how're you?
Danielle: I'm fine, just watching my shows.... So, what're you up to?
Jen: Nothing much. I was just thinking about you and wanted to call and see what you were up to?
Danielle: Oh thanks. Yeah, I'm just watching my shows. 
Jen: Cooool... 

There was a slight pause where neither of them spoke.

Jen: Well...the reason I called was I've been feeling bad lately. 

Danielle quietly tensed and sat up right, waiting to here what Jen would say. Meanwhile Jen tensed as she prepared to go into everything for the first time.

Jen: I've been changing a lot since I moved out here- changes for the better! I'm really starting to become the adult that I want to be. And I realized that I have been going on this journey alone and I haven't been talking to you about it. When I think about the conversations we DO have, I realize that I withhold a lot- I'm not saying that I'm not being myself, but just...well you don't get to see all of me....  And I used to think it was because of the world, I used to think society and my parents wouldn't want me to be a certain way. I had these voices in my head judging who I was and who I wanted to be.  And when I realized it was me who was letting those voices win, I dunno, I guess I realized I was the one judging me, not you, not society, not the world. And I just feel like a little kid because instead of just talking to you about what I was going through or what I felt, I just assumed you'd judge me and I never even gave you a chance. And like, I'm just feeling like it's about time I really did become an adult and give you that chance.... The past few years, I've been really getting to the core of who I am and what I believe. And it's been scary because in wanting to follow my heart...I guess I just get worried that you won't like where I follow it, that you might love me less depending on where it takes me.
Danielle: I love you, Jen, nothing will change that.
Jen (sighing with relief): I know. Ha, when I think about it now, I can't believe I was so worried about a label. It seems so silly to think you'd judge me for not wanting to call myself a Christian any more.

There was a long pause on the line.

Jen: That's silly, right? You wouldn't judge me?

Danille: I'm very sorry to hear that you're no longer a Christian.... Do you believe in Heaven?
Jen: Not really, not the bible's version at least.
Danielle: .....Do you believe in Hell?
Jen: No.
Danielle: That really disappoints me, it really makes me sad to know we won't be in Heaven together. 
Jen: Well I don't think that's what will happen-
Danielle: I know it will. It says so right in the bible.
Jen: Well I just think the bible's got a tone to it, and I just think it's not always accurate to what's really happening.
Danielle: It's God's word. It IS the truth. Jesus died for you, Jen. If you don't have him in your heart...
Jen: I love Jesus, I think he was way ahead of his time. 
Danielle: Do you think he was God.
Jen: No, I- I think he was a human, like all of us.
Daniellle: Do you think he rose from the dead.
Jen: Uh, no, maybe as a spirit or energy, but not as a body. 
Danielle: Then what's the point, why love him, why even care about him if he's just "like all of us"???
Jen: Mom, I just, I don't know what to say to you.
Danielle: Well you need to rethink whatever it is you think you know or whatever path you're on. You may think you're at a good place, but believe me, you aren't.

Jen was starting to tear up. Her voice was trembling slightly.
Jen: You're really hurting my feelings. I called you because I wanted to have a closer relationship with you. I thought that if I never told you this, I could never let you in all the way. I just wanted to love you more.
Danielle: I'd love to see you in Heaven, I'd love to spend the afterlife with you. But if you stay on this path, you will go to Hell.
Jen: How could you say that to me?
Danielle: It's true.

Now Jen was becoming indignant. In wanting to fight the hurt she became hostile.

Jen: Well I don't want to wait for a relationship after I die, I want to have a relationship with you in this life! 
Danielle: I pray for you every day.
Jen: Yeah, but I have no idea who you are! I don't know what you're really like! I feel like you've got this wall up, you try and hide things from me. That's probably where I learned to hide who I was! Why can't you be yourself around me, why can't you just talk to me about this stuff, why do you have to keep saying that I'm going to hell?!
Danielle: BECAUSE YOU ARE! ....I just- I failed you. Somewhere along the line I must've failed teaching you right from wrong. You are so lost right now and you don't even know. And just wait, just wait 'til it happens to you. 'Til someone gets taken from you! Then you'll really GET IT. You'll see just what's at stake. You- you- you're just such an ingrate! I gave you clothes, toys, bought your school books, paid for your college- You're father did none of that. And what do you do for me?!
Jen: I don't care about that stuff, I just want you! I just want a real relationship!
Danielle: I just don't know how that's possible anymore!

Danielle threw the phone down, not bothering to hang it up. She sat in her house, alone with her shows, and started to sob.

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