My friend, Katie, and I had arranged to “do lunch” and she promised to pick me up promptly at, uh, forty minutes ago. Right. As usual, Katie was running late. Her definition of promptness had apparently come from a dictionary compiled, not by Webster, but by some back-woods erudite who never owned a watch in his life. I silently called up a quick prayer asking The Lord to help me keep my hunger and temper under control. I had, after all, been witnessing to Kat for almost a year now. It certainly wouldn’t be a good example to jump down her throat and wring her tonsils. Satisfying, maybe, but not helpful to the complete agenda.
God answered my prayer by ringing the doorbell. My “customized-to-fit-your-lifestyle” song chimed through the opening chords of Amazing Grace and I pleasantly asked, “Who is it?” At Katie’s very un-ladylike response, I unlatched, unlocked, unbolted, and unchained all the barriers to the outside world, aware of my false sense of security. Jericho came down-so could my door.
Katie ambled in and blithely crooned, “Hi, Carolyn, ready?” It would have been obvious to anyone else, me being fully cloaked and clutching my 12-pound fake alligator bag of emergency what-ifs, but not to Katie. Tongue-in-cheek, I replied, “I think so… and I do believe I’m getting a bit hungry, so let‘s go.” Then Katie spoke the words I had learned to dread: “Wait a sec.”
Oh, no-I noted the target of her interest-my secret library! Normally it was kept behind closed doors, but I accidentally left the cabinet opened earlier in the day. She asked, “Do you actually read these fairy tales, Carolyn? You don’t have any kids, so what’s the deal? When you're reading to me from The Bible, force-feeding verses upon my fair head, it’s obvious that you advanced past the third grade level.”
Somewhat embarrassed, I replied, “Yeah, I know that God works all things for our good so I believe in happy endings. These particular fairy tales all have happy endings and, uh, well…,” my words dwindled away.
Katie’s face took on the look of a person who just tasted Louisiana Red-Hot, expecting tomato soup instead. Totally amazed, she swept her arm in front of the shelf, encompassing my treasures. “It’s all baloney, girlfriend, fiction! Something to appease little kids. Nothing like this happens in real life. I mean, look-‘Beauty And The Beast.’ Nobody could actually love something so ugly, right?”
Aha! Light bulb. Taking advantage of a great ‘witnessing moment,’ I said, “The Bible tells us about Jesus loving the ugly, sore-covered lepers so much, He healed them.”
“Okay, one example, if you can believe what The Bible says. What about Cinderella? A fairy godmother with a magic wand? Give me a break!”
This one was easy. “Moses used a plain old walking stick to threaten Pharaoh, turn water to blood, clear a path through the sea, and a few other miracles powered by his God Father.”
Katie picked out another one and smugly declared, “Pinocchio-a brat made from wood and then this puppet-maker saved after he was fish bait!”
“Eve was made from a bone and Jonah was swallowed by a fish. Come on, Kat, I’m hungry.”
“Whatever. Snow White? That gal was poison-dead, not just snoozing.”
I quickly retorted, “Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead.”
“Jack and the Beanstalk?"
“David and Goliath. Let’s go.”
Katie sighed. “All right, Carolyn, but I have one question about all of this. If you only read happy endings, why do you read that ‘Book’ on the coffee table? These fairy tales start out in the dumps and end on happy notes. But The Bible has a great beginning and an absolutely horrible end. The whole world and every one on it is destroyed, totally obliterated, gone!”
“Oh, Katie, don’t you see? The end of the world means we Christians, saved by the Grace of Almighty God through His Son, go to a place beautiful beyond our imagination. In Heaven there is no sickness, no death, no misery, injustice or… starvation! Now can we puhleeze go to lunch?”
“Hmm…” Kat was thinking. (I could feel the heat rising from her casually styled coif) “Maybe you should tell me a little more about this over lunch. And Carolyn?”
I closed and locked the door behind us. “Yes, Katie, what now?”
“Doesn’t The Bible say something about man not living by bread alone?”
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