[All photos from Unsplash]
This is a serial telling of my falling-in-love story. Read the story from the very beginning here.
We six – you, me, Anthony, Kristina, Suze and Lis (AKA “Shack”) – sit in a circle on the carpet on your parents’ living room floor, Bibles and theological commentaries on the book of Mark spread out in front of us. Our group has been slowly shrinking as it becomes less social club and more revival, and former members like Karen and the expert swing dancer have been getting too busy to come, and today even a few regulars can’t make it.
After I’ve jotted down all the prayer requests in my journal – (“Anthony- Job, Jeremy- Job, me- Job, Kristina- wedding planning, Suze- Job, Shack- Job”) – we pray, sing, and then we get down to business as our stomachs murmur from our day-long fast. Suze reads all of Mark 10 out loud, but in our discussion, we keep coming back to 10:13-16, so we decide to focus.
You read the verses aloud to remind us of the ancient words, while I notice your red fleece, the one that makes you look like you climb rocks in your free time: “And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ And Jesus took the children in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.”
I study the page, my bible resting on my lap, trying to focus. “Sounds serious,” I say. “We can’t get through the door to heaven if we don’t act like a kid?”
“I’m not so sure it’s just about heaven,” says Kristina.
“The ‘kingdom of God’ is a way of talking about God’s rule and reign here on earth,” you say. “So, yeah, I think it’s way bigger than heaven.”
“How do we do it then? ‘Cause obviously that’s a big deal. How can we receive God as king like little kids?” I say.
We stare at the books before us, eyes flitting over the red letters, turning pages, looking for meaning.
“Maybe…” I say, straining to remember my years of babysitting, “Maybe Jesus is talking about a child’s innocence?”
“No way,” says Anthony.
“Anthony has nine younger siblings,” Kristina explains.
“And I watched all of them grow up and I can tell you that children are definitely not innocent. Not a chance,” says Anthony, shaking his head vehemently.
“Yep,” says Shack, smiling, “I have lots of siblings, too.”
“Nice!” says Anthony, who holds up his hand for a high-five as Shack smiles at him. Anthony just shrugs.
“Yep, even the sickest kids try to get away with stuff,” says Suze. “But sometimes I’ll slip them extra jello.”
I smile. “You all are in the ‘sinners at birth’ crew, huh?” I say, teasing.
“Absolutely,” says Anthony, smiling.
[To be continued…]
I am writing and serially publishing scenes from my falling-in-love memoir, about the anguished, beautiful, and spiritual way that my husband and I met, fell in love, and married.
Read the next in the series. Read the story from the very beginning here.
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