Who is Eve?
Going Through The MotionsI quickly took a hot shower and freshened up a bit. As I was brushing my hair out, I looked in the mirror and for the first time I saw a twinkle in my eyes. What was that I was feeling? Could it possibly be? For the first time in over a year, I felt a glimmer of HOPE!
I looked at the note again, “Whatever is hurting you can be healed.”
“NO!” I shook my head furiously and snapped back at the girl in the mirror. “There is no hope for you!” I so desperately wished that Joanna’s note was true, but she just didn’t know the truth about me. I was not salvageable. I had gone too far. What I had done was unforgivable. I was damaged goods.
Grabbing my purse, I opened the door. I needed some fresh air and a walk would do me some good. It was a brisk evening and I pulled my sweatshirt a little tighter as I strolled slowly along the tree lined sidewalks of campus. Had anyone else ever walked these paths feeling as lost and alone as I did? I was simply wandering, not knowing where I was going – much like my life.
The flickering stars overhead captured my attention. I stood gazing at the sky and felt a tug in my heart as Joanna’s words ran thru my head again, “God loves us all, no matter what we have done.”
“How can that be true?” my voice is loud, but I don’t care. I stood staring… just… staring up at the inky sky. How long I was there, I don’t remember. I heard no answer - only the soft whisper of the breeze pushing its way through the trees behind me. Finally the kink in my neck along with the tight lump in my throat told me it was time to move along.
The sidewalk soon led me to a quieter section of campus. Startled, I looked up when I heard music in the distance. Searching for the source of the beautiful sound I realized it was coming from the auditorium straight ahead. My intention hadn’t been to come to Campus Crusade, but the four double doors stood open before me and I hesitantly walked towards them.
What kind of singing was this? I didn’t want to stop walking, but as I got closer my heart began beating faster and faster. Through an open window, I could see the seats were full, though surely there was room for one more person! Still, I could not make myself go in. My feet stopped as if anchored under heavy cement and the words of the song reached me clearly now.
I will call upon the Lord
Who is worthy to be praised.
So shall I be safe from my enemy.
I will call upon the Lord.
I couldn’t stop them - the tears, they… they just came streaming down my face as I sank down onto the bottom step of the building. Holding my head in my hands I rocked back and forth unable to be free of the consuming pain… the agony that was like a fire in my chest. It spread from my belly up into my throat reaching my eyes, burning… just burning. Surely it was as hot as the flames of the hell I deserved.
But oh, this was not what I wanted! This… this day-by-day struggle, the pain of self-hatred, the weight of my guilt… the… the sorrow of my loss… this was not the life I had longed for. This was not what I had wished for as a little girl. What I was living now was simply a façade. Everyone thought I was the all American girl. The sweet happy mask I pulled on my face each morning before leaving my dorm room was doing a great job of hiding the ugly truth, and no one knew just how deeply wounded I was.
By this point of my life, Jim had started dating other girls. I didn’t really miss him; still, I felt no other guy in the world would want me once they knew my secret. I wished I could talk to my mom… or my daddy. I had always been daddy’s little girl, but I had hidden the truth so well from both my parents, why should I break their hearts now? I could hardly bear the disappointment I was sure to see in their eyes if they knew what their little girl had done.
I hurt. Oh, how I hurt! I felt so trapped and alone! I longed… no…I yearned to be free. To be happy! My heart ached for some small taste of joy… of hope – if only for a moment. How I wanted to do just as the singing voices were suggesting. How I wished I could call upon the Lord. How I longed to be safe from my enemy… even if that enemy was myself.
Footsteps were coming and I dashed away the tears quickly. “Great, just great!” Glancing around, I discovered there was nowhere to hide. “How embarrassing is this?”
“Hey you, what’s wrong?” It was Jake, Joanna’s boyfriend.
“It’s nothing,” I sniffed, trying to regain my composure.
“Come sit with me and Joanna,” He seemed so friendly and kind as he gestured towards the open doors. “Joanna was hoping you’d come,” he went on, seeing my hesitation. I stood as if to join him then stopped.
Staring down at my yellow flip flops I was suddenly unable to look him in the eye, “I shouldn’t be here.” I whispered.
A sympathetic smile filled Jake’s face and he took my hand while pulling me towards the stairs, “I think you’re right where you need to be, Eve.”
To my relief, no one seemed to notice us slip into the room and join Joanna who had been saving two seats for us. A cold fear clawed at my heart. I was sure there was a flashing neon sign on my forehead proclaiming my sin to all at this very moment. I felt so conspicuous… so… so sure that the truth of what I’d done was obvious to everyone in the room. I wondered what they’d do if they knew!
Joanna had her hands up in the air and was smiling as she sang. Her head tipped back, eyes closed and I noticed the lights overhead cast a glow across her face. Hoping my mascara wasn’t smeared, I dabbed my face dry with my sleeve and made a feeble attempt to straighten up my hair.
What were these kids doing? Some were up front kneeling together in small groups, while others were crying but, like Joanna, had smiles on their faces. Jake nudged Joanna and she turned and hugged me for a moment.
“What on earth is everyone doing?” I questioned. I’d grown up going to church, but the services I had attended were nothing like this.
“Worshiping!” She answered, the ever-present smile still on her face. Seeing my uncertainty, she went on, “You don’t have to do anything, Eve, just sit and listen if you want.” After a few more songs, everyone sat down and a guy in a gray T-shirt and jeans went up on the stage. As he began talking, Joanna leaned over and whispered, “Isn’t the music great?”
“I’ve never heard anything like it,” I said, my tone hushed. Joanna looked surprised, so I went on. “My church back home is pretty dry. It’s usually all I can do to stay awake during a service.”
“Didn’t you sing praise songs?” She asked, genuinely interested.
I chuckle quietly at the thought of songs like this being played in my church. “I don’t think that this would have flown with the blue hairs.” I watch as the meaning of my words sink in, and then continued. “I was the youngest person in my church by about thirty years.” She covers her mouth to hide a giggle and glances at Jake. He smiles at us and I feel a pang of jealousy as he grabs her hand and kisses it. My heart sinks as I realize I’ll never know a love like they have. No good man will want me. I’ve seen Jake and Joanna reading together under a tree on the grassy hill at the edge of campus. I’ve heard them praying together when he’d walk her up to our room, and my heart would melt as he’d pray for their purity and ask God for guidance in their relationship.
I just couldn’t imagine what that must feel like to be loved so deeply… so…so purely. I turn and look away, reminded once more of the burden I must carry and the painful truth. I should never allow myself to imagine being loved like Jake loved Joanna.
Because love like that? It’s not for girls like me.
The guy in the gray shirt was still speaking, “In closing tonight, I feel so strongly that someone here needs to know that God is a forgiving God. Right now He is calling your name! He loves you!” He paused and scanned the crowd of college kids. My heart was pounding so hard I feared it would explode in my chest. “He loves you no matter who you are or what you’ve done!”
Piano music began playing softly. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the music and the tenderness in the speaker’s voice. “Come, let us pray for you. Don’t waste another day… another moment of your life fighting that longing… that loneliness in your heart.” A young couple two rows ahead of me stepped into the aisle and went forward. Quickly, several others stepped out of their rows and surrounded them, laying their hands on them and praying. To my left, another person, a young guy in khaki shorts and a State sweatshirt was fighting back tears. Suddenly, he too, was walking up the aisle, still brushing tears from his eyes. I bit my lip and looked back down at my feet. The pink nail polish on my big toe was chipped, “I should go get a pedicure tomorrow. Maybe a manicure too.” My thoughts did little to block out the pulsing beat coursing through my veins.
“Jesus is calling your name!” The voice up front spoke again. “Do you hear Him? Come let Him carry your burdens! He wants to heal your pain! He wants nothing more than to fill your life with peace and joy! Let Him love on you tonight!”
That was it! I couldn’t wait another moment. With a quick glance at Joanna, I eased myself out into the aisle. I stood looking at the cross above the podium for a brief moment, then, head down, I turned towards the door and stepped back into the darkness.
TO BE CONTINUED…