Saturday, December 13, 2014

Chapter 14, part 2: Snow Day

Soon I was back on campus and absorbed in a new class schedule. It was a blessing not to have any classes with Ian spring semester. He missed the first CSF meeting, which was a disappointment and a relief at the same time. I told myself that spending so much time with Oma had the side benefit of helping to tamp down the feelings that I was sure he would never return. But that was easy to say when I hadn’t seen him yet.

He stopped by our room on Thursday evening, the lower half of his face covered in a scruffy beard. The change in appearance helped. At least the mere sight of him didn’t make my heart flip like it had last semester.

“Hi, Gigi, L.Jo.” He pulled off his gloves and heavy winter coat. “It’s snowing something fierce outside. I heard that classes might be canceled tomorrow if it keeps up. How awesome would that be?”

The three of us chatted easily about our breaks and new classes. Soon Lacey excused herself. She had a date with Rob, a fellow Elkie from her hometown. As she left, she suggested the four of us go out together sometime so we could meet him. “That is, if you’re feeling up to it, Giselle.”

It wasn’t the first time since we’d been back that Lacey showed such concern for me. It grated on my nerves. I was fine now, and tired of getting special treatment.

Then again, I did still need some help.

“Hey, can I still count on you to drive me to Avondale for follow up appointments?” I asked Ian after Lacey was gone.

“No problem, Gigi. Be glad to. That is, unless they are on Friday afternoons. I don’t know if I told you or not, but toward the end of last semester I started keeping the Biblical Sabbath with a local messianic home church. I don’t want to miss services. Plus, I try not to be out driving after sundown.”

Just as Ian predicted, classes were cancelled the next day. Elk Ridge’s president sent out a campus-wide email inviting all students over to the hill behind her house that afternoon for sledding and hot chocolate.

Phoebe tapped me on the shoulder while I was waiting in line with Ian and Lacey for my first sled ride. “Gigi, can I talk to you privately?”

“Sure.”

She led us inside the president’s house to a small sitting room.

“What’s up?” I asked after we finished unbundling ourselves.

“You’re friends with Breanne Gonzalez, right?” she asked. “Well, she came to me the other day, scared and asking for advice. From what she told me, it sounds like she may have had some sort of demonic encounter.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s best if you don’t know all the details. Just know she’s in the middle of some intense spiritual warfare and needs all the prayer she can get. I’m telling you this because you’re her friend and because you seemed to have such a heart for prayer last semester, always sharing your needs with such quiet faith.”

When we came out of the house, I found Lacey and got back at the end of the line with her. Ian had left to attend the messianic congregation. While the line inched forward, I had several cups of hot cocoa. Right before we reached the launch point, I started to feel sick to my stomach and an urgency to get to a bathroom. After the exhilarating ride, I fled up the hill. I barely made it.

On our next trip to the infectious disease specialist in Avondale, Ian talked to me about the joy he’d found in starting to keep the Old Testament laws, and why he thought they were still in force for today. His argument sounded convincing. He invited me to join him at the messianic home church, and I attended the next few weeks. Soon though, I realized I was there mostly for Ian. For my own sanity, I had to stop going with him.

At the same time, I had still been attending church on Sundays with Lacey, where they preached against legalism. Brother Thomas said anyone who tried to follow Old Testament stuff was trying to save themselves and was living under the curse of the law. But one Sunday, he concluded a sermon by saying if we didn’t witness to at least one person a week we had reason to question if we really were walking with the Lord. Wasn’t that just legalism in another form? Besides, Ian and his new friends didn’t seem cursed.

Every time I had an appointment in Avondale, Ian would share more about what he was learning. Every Sunday, I’d hear a slightly different gospel at the Pentecostal church. The conflicting voices confused me. How could I know if I were the right kind of Christian?

My stomach continued to bother me intermittently too as the weeks went by. I figured it was just a stress reaction—my class load was heavy. 

 Whenever I found myself in the bathroom with another episode, I’d remember what Phoebe had said about Breanne and wonder how to pray for her when I didn’t even know what was going on. I didn’t dare ask Breanne herself, for fear that she’d know that Phoebe violated her trust.