“But, she thought, setting her coffee mug carefully on the chipped table top, on her worst day, at the worst moment of her life, she could always comfort herself that she was not like the creatures from Johnson Road. The empty shells who walked around posing as humans, as Christians, but who were ancient, and anything but human or Christian. The ones who enjoyed the suffering of others and who feasted on innocence, joy and goodness. No, she was not like them at all. And they hated her for that.
They had tried everything to destroy her for being different. She watched dust motes float slowly from the ceiling with the light from the setting sun through the window highlighting their slow-motion ballet. Her thoughts touched ever so briefly on all they had tried to do.
But she had two traits they couldn’t wipe out, and it infuriated them. One was her joy that had a way of bubbling up, even while they stalked around her windows at night, scheming, plotting, wishing the worst upon her. And they were outside, never inside, no matter how hard they tried to get in to divide and conquer. They couldn’t be allowed in. They had to be kept away for her own protection.
The other trait the creatures hated in her was an iron-clad sense of humor. She smiled at the incongruity of the words. And the truth was, angry, miserable people were funny if you could get past the superficial pain they inflicted. They could be counted on to show up on cue, like dark knights, Job’s comforters—their faces set in granite-hard lines , eyes cold with anger, their bodies wearing their umbrage like black death shrouds. You could almost hear the music of Jaws or the fight scene from the Montagues and the Capulets when they approached. Yes, they were funny, in a sad sort of way.
What made it most ridiculous was that these people said they were Christians, Christ being the first part of that word. She thought of every scene in the New Testament where Jesus Christ appeared. Not one glimpse of him stalking around pridefully, spreading malicious gossip, sneering and holding himself better than others, giving out pompous advice while living otherwise, throwing the first stone at an adulterous woman or scorning the Samaritan woman at the well. Instead, He knelt down, touched the untouchable, responded to the calls of the disabled. He spoke only truth, even hard truth, because he valued the souls of people.
The creatures used the name of Jesus. Did they really believe themselves to be Christians, pure delusion, or did they know all along what they were doing and who they were? It was impossible to say, she mused. Those they spent so much time trying to destroy knew very well that they had nothing to do with the kindly Jesus, the one who sacrificed his own life for others.
She noticed suddenly the aroma of apples and cinnamon that had filled the small, shabby kitchen. The goodness in the oven was radiating happy deliciousness. The dog who dozed on the floor was warm on her feet. Through the window, she saw her husband come through the gate and down the walk to the door. The sight of his face made her heart sing a jazzy little tune.
That was something else they hated. She was loved. In all of her imperfections, contradictions, impulsiveness and other sundry flaws, there was someone who, unbelievably, saw her as being worthy of his love. It was because of him that she could believe that God, in his mercy , loved her also, and had taken care of her through it all.
The simplest things of life could make her smile, dust motes, warm dogs, pies, freshly-brewed coffee, because on her worst day, at the worst moment of her life, she was not like the hard-faced, cold-hearted creatures from Johnson Road. Other people and their happiness mattered to her. She had a conscience. There was the love of her family. She laughed out loud. Riches.”
~ Ingrid Schlueter