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An Easter lesson: Heaven would wait

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 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 Hollines preacher and she had a lot to say on the subject. So, I guess Aunt Nita was the one who put the notion in my head that Jesus was coming that particular Easter Sunday.

Now, you can imagine how frightening that was to a big-eyed, nine-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 I ought to run around telling folks, especially if the angels didn’t 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; so I did a lot of pondering in my heart. I was scared and unhappy, too, about the end of time coming.

I imaged 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 and making frog houses in the damp dirt after a rain.

I’d probably have to sit still and quiet in a mansions and could’t slide down the banister like I did at my grandmother’s house. 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 really bad, you’d go down to live with the devil and he would set you on fire and nobody could put you out. You would scream and holler and gnash your teeth. That would hurt.

My stomach started hurting because not many days went by that I didn’t get a switching. I made sure Mama’s switch stayed on top of the refrigerator the whole week before Easter. I was determined the devil was not going to get me.

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 Easter outfit. I looked like a clown all dress up like that.

But on this Easter eve, I didn’t pout when Mama hung my starched, ironed Easter dress on the back of 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, Ti,  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.

Heaven would wait.