The baby-sitter pulled a no show; choir practice probably kept her late. I had to ask the neighbor girl for a last minute favor. Yuck. I hoped that she’d remember there were kids in the house and wouldn’t just sit in front of MTV all evening. My traveling husband wasn’t around to help. He’d even forgotten to make his scheduled check in call.
I was alone on insanity island, and late to my Bible study / bake off.
The traffic had been intense. Not one, not two, but three deserted cars in my ten mile stretch of Highway 118. Being the last to arrive meant I had to park down the block, even farther away than the perennially tardy Betty Jackson. I showed up at the house exactly 55 minutes behind schedule, a lime meringue pie in one hand and my Bible in the other.
When I knocked, the door swung open by itself.
I peeked inside. “Sorry I’m late but—” Nobody was there. My high heels made a loud echoing noise with each step in the tile entryway sounding like I was tap dancing in an empty museum. “Reverend Nash? Betty?”
The lights were on and Point of Grace played softly on the stereo. I passed the dining area. Paper plates and cups were scattered on the surfaces, the chairs left in haphazard order. A fork lay on the floor next to a half-eaten cookie. Down the hall, the living room waited. I hesitated as the hairs on my neck were beginning to prickle.
“Hello? Reverend? Anyone home?” Nothing. This was odd. I stepped closer. The coffee maker gurgled behind me, releasing a hiss of steam. I jumped, a squeak escaping from my throat. I turned towards the kitchen. The faucet drizzled into an abandoned sink; the microwave display flashed “END … END … END”. No one answered the message.
Something was wrong.
“God, what’s going on here?” He didn’t answer either. I struggled to control my breathing.
I pressed forward towards the living room, my knees becoming weak. Coats and purses were strewn about as if their owners had vanished, simply disappeared without them. The ceiling fan rotated below the lights, causing the room to flicker. The strobe effect made me dizzy as the walls began to twist and warp. The drapes in front of the open sliding door ballooned towards me in the swelling breeze like a demon's hand trying to grasp me. I stepped farther in. Bibles. They were lain around the room. Upside down, closed, sprawled on the sofas, tossed on the floor. In the center, on the coffee table, Reverend Nash’s oversized study Bible held my stare. The rice paper pages blew in the wind and seemed to be calling me closer.
I crossed to it.
As I approached a gust whipped about me, flipping papers over my feet. I stumbled, trying not to step on them, my foot instead landing on the open cover of Left Behind that peaked from beneath the recliner. The Reverend’s notes lifted from his Bible and seemed to hang in mid air before me.
I froze. The words on the page read: “The Rapture. You’ll know you were left behind when…”
My heart pounded and I doubled over in panic. Everyone was gone! I’d been left! I’d missed it! “Reverend! Betty! Anybody!” I ran in a circle, mindless of where I was going. What had gone wrong? My heart must not have been right! But I prayed and studied the Bible! I wrote stories for God! I was wrong and now it was too late!
“Jesus, please! No! You know I love you! Take me with you! I’m willing to do anything!” I felt tears beginning to stream down my cheeks. I knew my prayer would go unanswered. My options had ended.
It was over.
A hand clasped my shoulder from behind. “Jessica?”
I jumped and spun about. It was Reverend Nash followed by the rest of the group descending the stairs from looking at his new wallpaper. Relief flooded my veins and I leapt forward to hug him. I forgot about the contents of my hands. My Bible fell to the floor and the lime meringue pie flew ahead of me, striking the confused man square in the face.
We laughed until the tears on my cheeks were from joy and not despair. It was a Bible lesson I’d not soon forget.
“Lord, Take me with you. I’m willing to do anything.”
1 Thessalonians 4:17
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