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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Inner Strength (04/20/06)

TITLE: Walking Into Church Alone
By Julie Michaelson


Walking into Church Alone

Some of the plastic wrap was still stuck to the cover.
It was a plain King James bible. It was the one that looked
the most familiar, so I had gotten it. It was in the largest
print I could find - without spending a lot of money. Did
folks in the biblical days have better eyesight? (It was
probably because they had never watched TV. Well....
they certainly hadn't missed much.)
At the tender age of 48, I was just starting out - literally,
and figuratively. I wasn't enjoying being a role model for
middle-aged, divorced women. I had already burned up the
$80 weed eater (and using my new assertiveness, had returned it), and I still didn't know what was wrong with pouring
toilet bowl cleaner on fire ant mounds. (It seemed to do a
better job, than the $15-a-bag granular stuff.)
And now, I was a single, Jewish lady, walking into a
nondenominational church. As a married lady, I'd often come
with my husband. As a divorced lady, I didn't know where I
Everyone else, though, seemed very at home. They were
all walking hand in hand with their kids, or spouses. How big,
and extraterrestrial, my new world looked. I just didn't fit
in, anywhere.
I liked church. The music was pretty, and the words about
Heaven were comforting. I was never sure, though, what to do
when they had communion. I had always felt kind of guilty (well,
that came with the territory) about it. I just never knew what
to do, when they passed the cups and bread around. Once I
had my hand on the little cup of grape juice, I didn't want to risk
handing it back, and spilling it.
Jews sort of did the same thing. They drank grape juice, and
ate bread, too. Except, they did it every Friday night, and they
had the option of taking a little cup of wine. Plus, the bread
was called Challah, and it was much, much more fattening.
Although, I had to admit, it did taste a lot better.
So, maybe, I should go back to synagogue. Well, I could go
there, on Friday nights, and have a piece of Challah. And, then,
I could come to church, on Sunday, and eat the little piece of
matzo. At least, that's what it looked like to me. It reminded
me of the unleavened bread at Passover, with the dabs of
horseradish and applesauce.
Bitter and sweet. Remembrance of slavery, and deliverance.
Taking a seat in the pew, I was now totally confused.
Jesus was Jewish. So, maybe I did belong here.
I sighed heavily, and rubbed my forehead. Why did
everything have to be so complicated? I was still trying to figure
out my newfound knowledge of the computer. That was yet
another awkwardness about my new life. Everything, in the
past months, had been awkward, if not absolutely terrifying.
I had to admit, while I was perusing the church pamphlet,
and trying not to look awkwardly single, why I was really
here. It was because of the fire ant mounds, the weed eater,
the wee hours of the morning, and the rather perplexing
keyboard - that still had that smell of newness. Everything
had the smell of newness, and with it came fear.
And, I wasn't sure what my faith was, so how could I
fight my fear?
Absentmindedly, I flipped the tight corners of the new
bible. It was from Walmart. I still had the receipt stuck to
the bottom of my wallet. Why had I kept it? So, I could take
it back, if I decided just to stick with the Challah?
A laugh burbled up in my throat.
All I could remember from the bible, were stories of Adam
and Eve (and their dysfunctional family), Lot's wife (and all of
her issues), Samson (with his beautiful hair, and his rather
sneaky girlfriend), and Moses (and all of the problems he had,
after discovering he was really Jewish).
Poor Moses. He probably wished he had never found that
piece of blanket from his baby basket.
Was I going to be turned into a salt block, too? Maybe,
that's why the Lord wanted me to look forward, these days.
Looking back was just too painful. And, somehow, I had to
find my inner strength.
So, maybe, I would keep my new bible, for awhile. And,
perhaps, I would find out if I could be saved.

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This article has been read 995 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Paynter04/27/06
I like this. I felt you really fot me into her head, and I cared about whether she 'makes it' or not. Good stuff
Jan Ackerson 04/29/06
What a marvelous voice your narrator has! Witty and a bit ironic, very likeable. I wonder if there's a computer glitch giving your entry such a strange "format," because I'm afraid it may cause some people to by-pass this gem and miss it. PM me if you'd like a brief tutorial on formatting, previewing, submitting...this is a very, very good piece.
Edy T Johnson 04/29/06
What a marvelous, interesting character! I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks!