The Part Where the Girl Meets Jesus:
Remember the hell from yesterday? At some point, I figured out I was going there.
In first grade, my Sunday School teacher taught her room full of tiny terrors the sinners prayer and I understood mighty fast I qualified. I told lies to keep from getting in trouble. I stole pennies from my mother’s change drawer and bought secret stashes of candy from the Stop and Go. I said mean things to the other kids on purpose.
I felt icky inside from all my badness and consequently, a fear clamped around my insides that I was going to die before God got around to hearing little me, cowering in my bed every night chanting that prayer over and over. After all, He was very big and I was very small and He had more important things to do. Who knows how far down on that list my name might be?
So every night, I arranged my pillows just so, one on either side of my body. I put my hands on the sides of my neck so burglars couldn’t strangle me. I lay face down so no one could smother me with a pillow. I scooched w-a-a-ay under the covers so I might be mistaken for an extra pillow. And every night, I prayed like crazy.
Laying there one night in my tiny little prison, Jesus showed up. Don’t go telling a seven year old He didn’t because He surely did. My insides lit up, all the black ickiness went away and I knew I belonged to Him. I put my pillows back where they belonged, rolled over and went to sleep.
I didn’t think much about God again for five years.
That would be the point where the hippies started looking mighty good.