had a lot on her mind as she walked to school Friday morning. Just
the night before, she had broken the news to her parents that she
had failed her Health test that day. Despite their evident disappointment,
all they said was, "Can you do better next time?" This response
surprised Carol. They would normally overreact, starting by grounding
Carol and ending the night in a shouting match when Carol responded
But, last night, they didn't seem
to panic. It was like this new faith gave them the strength to handle
things outside of their control. Things like this were slight changes
that Carol had been noticing in her parents. Sometimes she wondered
what made them so happy.
Of course, Carol hadn't been feeling
too on edge the last couple of weeks, either. In fact, even Joanne
noticed a slight change in her. Carol never told her about the CD
stashed away in her sock drawer, but Joanne seemed to sense that
Carol wasn't telling her something, and asked if she had gotten
religious and that was why she was acting differently around her.
"Oh no!" Carol told her, but in her heart she sensed that she was
All throughout school Carol rehearsed
how she was going to ask her parents about going to church with
them and how she could break it to Joanne that she'd be busy Sunday
and therefore couldn't go out shopping with her. She was so distracted
that she burned her sugar cookies in Home-Ec and ran the wrong way
playing baseball in Gym class.
Carol breathed a sigh of relief as
the bell rang, gathered up her books and exited the classroom. She
was rehearsing her speech in her head once more when she heard Melody,
the new girl in school, call her from behind.
"Hey Carol, can I ask you something?"
"Yeah, sure." Carol slowed her pace
to allow her new friend catch up her. "What's up?"
"Well, I was just wondering if you
would like to come with me to a youth activity tomorrow night."
"That should be fine. Is it a place
my mom would know of?"
"Actually, yeah. You see it's …uh…well…"
She shifted her books nervously. "Your parents and my parents both
go to the same church, so yeah, she knows where it is."
"So it's at your church." Carol assumed.
"Uh-huh," Melody confirmed.
Carol considered it a rather amazing
that on the same exact
day she'd been thawing to the whole "church" thing, a
friend had suddenly popped up to invite her to a church service.
Still, Carol hesitated. "Is there going to be one of those preaching
Melody nodded shyly.
Carol was almost surprised to hear
herself ask, "What time should I be there?"
Melody's nervousness suddenly melted,
and Carol realized that her friend had been rather afraid to invite
her. "It starts at seven, so ten 'til would be a good time to get
"I'll be there." Carol said as she
reached her locker.
"Great! See you then!" Melody waved
as she departed.
Just then Joanne came up behind Carol
and snickered. "What did she want from you?"
Carol slung her book bag over her
shoulder and shut her locker. "Nothing significant. Just wanted
to say hi." She lied.
"Yeah, right. Anyway, I have something
to tell you."
"Talk as we walk." Carol motioned
for Joanne to keep up with her.
"I have to cancel our shopping trip
for Sunday. My mom has been having too much pain, so I'm going to
stay home and keep an eye on her. Her doctor has scheduled some
tests to see if there is a problem with the baby that didn't show
up on the ultrasound. Mom's on bed rest for now, but if the tests
show that the pregnancy is at risk, the doctor may have to perform
an early C-section." Joanne said gloomily. "Mom says the baby would
be ok but would have to stay in the preemie ward at the hospital,
possibly even for a month or more. She wants me not to worry, I
can tell, but then I wonder if she may be hiding some of the truth
"Oh Joanne, I'm so sorry! Tell her
I'll…tell her I said, "Hi." Carol caught herself almost saying
she'd pray for Joanne's mom. What was she thinking? She didn't pray.
She wouldn't even know how to start.
"Will do. Well, see you tomorrow.
I've got tennis practice."
"Ok. See ya!" Carol called after her
friend and watched her jog off. So, there it was. She hadn't had
to cancel her Sunday plans with Joanne because Joanne had cancelled
them for her. If there was a God, and Carol was beginning to think
that there was, He was definitely using His powers to gang up on
her in a very unfair way. As she turned and headed for home, all
she could think of was how she was going to hate to admit to her
parents that they might be right about this church thing that was
weighing on her heart so.