Archived Story

An Easter secret revealed: Welcoming the new dawn

Published 10:55pm Friday, March 30, 2012

Just why God chose me, I was not sure.

The Bible clearly says that no one will know the hour or the day of the Second Coming of Christ. Not even the angels in heaven will know.

Why then, did I think that God had let me in on His great secret?

We were Methodist – stiff-necked Methodist, as Mama said. Our preachers didn’t have much to say about the Second Coming but Aunt Nita was a Holiness preacher and she had a whole lot to say on the subject. So, I guess she’s the one who put the notion in my head that Jesus was coming back on that particular Easter Sunday.

Now, you can image how frightening that was to a big-eyed, knock-kneed 10-year-old with an imagination as big as all outdoors. And, too, that was a big secret for anybody to keep. And I supposed that I was to keep the secret. I didn’t think it was something that I ought to run around telling folks, especially if the angels didn’t even know about it.

God has chosen a young girl to be the mother of Jesus and she had kept the secret. She had pondered it in her heart. That’s what the Bible said. So, I did a lot of pondering in my heart but I was scared and unhappy, too, about the end of time coming.

I imagined how it would be. The Trumpet of the Lord would sound and Jesus would come down and get us and take us up to heaven.

I kind of liked the idea of floating up to the clouds but I wasn’t too interested in mansions and streets of gold. I liked playing in the hayloft in the barn behind Eunice’s house and making frog houses in the damp dirt after a rain.

I’d probably have to sit still and quiet in a mansion and couldn’t slide down the banisters like I did at my grandma’s house. And, going barefooted on streets made out of gold would hurt my feet. I just wasn’t sure about this heaven that I was going to on Easter Sunday.

Then I got really scared. Aunt Nita said if you were really bad, you’d go down to live with the devil and he’d set you on fire and nobody could put you out. You’d scream and holler and gnash your teeth – I didn’t know how you gnashed your teeth but I didn’t want to do it — and you’d just keep on burning.

My stomach started hurting because not many days went by that I didn’t get a switching. And Aunt Mary Nancy said Louise and I were ugly, mean, little girls and the devil was gonna get us.  Eunice said Aunt Mary Nancy was “tetched in the head” so we ought not to aggravate her.

Mama’s switch stayed on top of the refrigerator the whole week before Easter. I was determined that the devil was not going to get me and set me on fire.

Now, I had it in my mind that as soon as the sun came up on Easter morning, Jesus would appear and I’d see him right out my bedroom window.

Every Sunday of my life, I got a whipping because I’d pitch a fit when I had to put on my Sunday dress. I pitched a bigger fit on Easter because I had a new dress and new shoes with lacy socks and, ugh, a hat and gloves. I looked like a clown all dressed up like that.

But on this Easter eve, I didn’t even pout when Mama hung my starched, ironed Easter dress on the back on my bedroom door. I knew I wouldn’t be wearing that thing.

The end of time was coming and I was going in my blue shorts and plaid shirt and my tennis shoes with a hole in the toe.

I couldn’t eat supper that night. I was too scared.

I put on my pajamas but, when all the house was quiet and dark, I got up and put on my “going away” outfit and crawled back under the covers with my Teddy bear, Tim, wrapped in my arms. I kept my eyes fixed on the window facing east. I had to be awake for the sunrise and the Second Coming.

Mama’s singing in the kitchen woke me. I jumped out of bed and ran to the window.  The cows were grazing in the pasture across the road. The birds were singing and the sun was climbing in the sky.

I could smell bacon frying.

It was Easter morning and the end of time had not come.

I took my Easter dress off the door and put it on and my new shoes and socks with lace around the top. I stuck the hat on my head and pulled on the white gloves.

It was Easter morning and a new day had dawned.  Heaven would wait.

Jaine Treadwell is features editor of The Messenger. She can be reached at jaine.treadwell@troymessenger.com.

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