“Lily” (Part five)

“Well,” Tim said, “your dad definitely led in creating Covenant in this community, Beth. I knowimgres few people, men or women, who are as humble as your dad, but who are resolute in their determination to follow through on such a noble plan. To plant a school like Covenant, with its emphasis on character, not just facts, he and the school are remarkable testimonies to God’s providence.”

“Oh, you are so right, Tim,” Beth went on. “We at Covenant teach our kids about how important it is to be humble. We teach them about how Jesus is the lamb and the servant prophesied in Isaiah 53. We even have the kids memorize the whole passage by sixth grade! Isn’t that great? Oh Tim, you’re so right; we are really being used by the Lord at Covenant. It’s a special blessing of God, I believe.”

Lily didn’t raise her eyes from her metal chair during Beth’s blather. She (Lily) feared her facial expression would betray her view of Miss Rusty-hair. Beth wouldn’t know God’s blessing were it wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger, Lily thought. Dear Lord, I feel sweat under my right armpit again.

 Riiinnnngggg! A bell sounded in the hallway just outside the door. Lily almost dissolved into her metal chair again. She was sure she was sweating now, but she rejoiced in the deliverance from the tower of air.

Fred, the kind man who had escorted her to Tim’s class, stood smiling against the wall where Lily could see him. After Miss Rusty-hair, Lily viewed Fred as her old faithful friend, though they’d met less than an hour ago, and he’d simply helped her to a class.

“How was that Sunday school class for you, Miss Lily? Did you enjoy Tim’s teaching?” Fred asked.

“I did enjoy Tim’s teaching very much,” Lily said, measuring her answer. She did not know, after all, Beth’s father’s name. Lily felt the sweat under her armpit again, and waited for Fred to ask another question on their way to the sanctuary.

(To be continued)

“Lily” (Part Two)

Fred was the man’s name that walked Lily to class. “How long have you been in town?” he asked.imgres

“Just a few weeks,” Lily said. “I’m a teacher at Covenant. I moved from Rook just last month. I don’t really know a lot of people at work yet, and those I do know–well, I don’t know if they’re active in a local church.”

“I’m talking too much,” Lily thought to herself, but she liked Fred. He seemed trustworthy. His gentle spirit put her at ease. He wore khakis, brown loafers, an off-brand long-sleeve plaid shirt, and brown tie. His thin brown hair was combed over a sun-splotched scalp. And he didn’t have ear hair, Lily noticed. He wore a gold wedding band on his left hand.

“This class I’m taking you to is for married and singles your age,” Ms. Lily, “is that alright?” Fred asked.

“Yessir. Thank you so much,” Lily said.

Entering the class, Fred addressed the teacher. “Tim, we have a guest this morning. This is Lily. She teaches at Covenant. She’s new to town.” Lily smiled nervously, wondering how she appeared to Tim and the class.

“Welcome to our class, Lily,” Tim said. “Please sit wherever you like.”

Metal folding chairs were arranged in a horseshoe pattern on the blue carpet. Tim had a stool and a small metal lectern near the dry erase board.

Feeling eyes upon her, Lily longed to sit. She saw an open chair near the door. As she approached it, she felt examined. As she sat, she gathered her skirt under her, crossed her right leg over her left, and pulled out her iPhone for the Bible app. She felt someone staring at her. Looking up from her phone, a woman was in front of her, between her and the teacher Tim. Lily’s stomach knotted. “Where are Donald and Fred now?” she thought.

“Hey–welcome to our class. I’m Beth! We’re so glad you’re here this morning!” From her metal chair, Lily looked up at Beth. Beth approached six feet tall, had bleached hair that was not blonde so much as orange–rust-colored, in fact. She had large-knuckled hands and black polish on fake nails. She was not wearing a wedding band, but wore rings of every dimension on all her fingers. She had bracelets on both wrists, and had gold crosses hanging from both earlobes. She jangled like a tinker.

(To be continued)


“Lily” (Part One)

“This is going to be awful. Will anyone speak to me in Sunday school, or even during church?” Lily asked herself. She opened her car door and stepped onto the blacktop of the church parking lot. She was wearing a beige blouse, her long black skirt, tan boots, and her fimgresavorite purse. She had a Bible app on her iPhone. “I hate this. Coming to church alone, at the mercy of every crotchety old deacon with untrimmed ear hair and bad teeth. Why did I even come today? This is going to be awful.” So ran her thoughts as she donned a smile and neared the doors at the front of the church. She saw a feigning old man getting ready to utter some platitude about how glad he was she came to God’s house today. Lily could feel sweat form under her right armpit. “Oh gosh,” she thought, as she extended her right hand to shake the old man’s, “I bet he’s got black ear hair. And I’m starting to sweat. And it’s February.”

“Welcome to Beulah Church, young lady. I’m Donald. Are you visiting with us today?”

“Yessir, I’m new to town. My job brought me here,” Lily said.

“Well, welcome. I’ll have someone show you to a Sunday school class for your age group, okay?”

“Yessir,” Lily said. “That’d be great.”

Lily tried not to stare at his ears; she feared seeing black hairs staring back at her. “He seems nice enough, however” she thought.

“But now Sunday school is sure to be a semicircle of the self-absorbed, texting one another, instead of listening to the teacher,” she thought.

Lily had been raised in church. She knew how mean some folks could be. “Was the church ever pure?” she wondered. “I shouldn’t have come. But I needed to. But I’ll not meet any friends. Only friendlies. There’s a world of difference,” she thought. Weighted in her voiceless loneliness, Lily knew that within seconds, she would enter a Sunday school class.

The door to the class loomed straight ahead.

(To be continued)