It was the cross that had given her away. The small tattoo was usually covered by her long hair as it sat just below her hair line on the back of her neck, but that day she had tied her hair up and gone to the market without thinking.
“You a Christian?” the rough voice asked as she was meticulously studying the apples at the stall in front of her.
Lucinda turned around to face a ludicrously tall man who towered over her with a glowering face. She gulped. Why had those words turned her blood cold? She wondered. She was a Christian, yes, but did she really want to talk about it with this total stranger?
“Um, yes.” She said quietly and turned back to the apples, hoping desperately that the man would go away.
“Why?” he asked, his tall frame casting a nasty shadow over her.
She thought for a moment that perhaps he was retarded or an escaped lunatic because such a question had never occurred to her and she had been a Christian all her life.
“Excuse me?” she asked, only half turning around because she did not want this man to mistake her shock for interest in the conversation.
“Well, I mean, why are you a Christian? Why do you believe in God?” he asked, bushy eyebrows furrowed in a concentrated line.
Good question. She said to herself and feigned deep thought, “You know I am running a little late.” She said side-stepping the hulk and decidedly moving on.
“Oh sorry. I didn’t mean to be nosy… the tattoo just seemed like quite a declaration. I assumed you were quite passionate about your beliefs…”
“If you mean to say that I am some kind of crazy extremist…” she began, flustered by the implication.
“No, not at all.” He said, raising his huge hands in surrender, “I was just curious. I’m sorry.”
“And so you should be.” She said and he shook his head and laughed, “What do you find so amusing?” she asked.
“Well it just occurred to me that maybe you’re getting all shook up because you don’t know the answer to the question.” He shrugged, “Maybe you don’t actually know what you believe.” And with that he ambled off in the direction of the sweet potato stall.
She shook her head impatiently at him and took off home. She fumed the entire way, her footsteps becoming more pronounced the further she went and the angrier she got. Not only had she left the market without anything on her list but her head had been turned entirely upside down by a crazy-man. Never in her life had anyone ever asked her such a question however it was not so much the question that left her perplexed as much as the lack of an answer.
“I do believe in God don’t I?” she muttered to herself as she entered her house, “I mean, I don’t go to church or anything but of course I believe in God!”
And then suddenly, out of nowhere, a thought slammed into the back of her head and she stopped short.
She could not remember the last time she had talked to God. In fact she couldn’t remember when she talked to him or about him. And then she suddenly thought of something her father had once said to her: if someone came into your life would they be able to see who you served? He was referring to God then. He always did. In his life, his love for God was obvious. But in hers…
Lucinda sat down on the bench in the hall, her basket discarded, her mind turning in dizzying circles. No one would see God if they looked into her life, the only evidence was a silly tattoo that she had as the result of a dare… and that could easily be explained away. If she couldn’t even answer a simple question about her so-called faith what did that say about what she thought she believed. And what was it she thought she believed?
She groaned, all she had wanted was to get a few things from the market and having her “faith” shaken was not on her list. She fingered the small tattoo gingerly. It was quite a declaration, she agreed. Perhaps it was time to find out what exactly that cross was declaring…