Thursday, December 18, 2014

Chapter 34, part 2: Repentance Impossible?

The Kirsten who flew back to Ohio with me the Wednesday after New Years might as well have been a different person from the one who had traveled with Brad and I three weeks before. She talked almost non-stop about her love for Charlie, her excitement at transferring to a different school in the fall, her hope that she’d get along better with the new roommate she’d be getting this semester.

It wasn’t until Brad picked us up from the airport that she fell silent. “See you at CSF on Tuesday I guess,” she said when we dropped her off.

I felt like a zombie the first few days back on campus. My digestive problems woke me up in the middle of the night, and worries about my potential pregnancy kept me from falling back asleep. Somehow I couldn’t bring myself to buy a test. Not yet.

I yawned my way through classes, and worked out calculations of how far along I might be instead of taking notes on the lectures. At meals, Brad steered us to empty tables instead of joining our friends. That was fine with me, I wasn’t in a mood to talk to anyone. I just let Brad do the talking while my worries swirled endlessly.

“Giselle? Giselle? I asked you a question.”

“Sorry, I spaced out there for a second.”

“A second? You’ve been a million miles away all week. What’s going on?”

Could I tell him? No, not yet. Not until I was sure. “My stomach’s been bothering me.”

“It’s stress, isn’t it? All that crap with CSF? I still think you should quit.”

“Maybe that’s part of it.”

“Not maybe, definitely. So Jay from my photography class wants us to go to Columbus with him and his girlfriend. I told him we’d meet up with him after dinner. Don’t take too long to pack. ”

“Sorry, I just don’t feel up to it. I think I’m just going to lay low this weekend.” Brad gave me a hard time, but I insisted he go without me. He finally agreed as long as I was staying in my room, “so he’d know where I was.”

I slept in late Saturday morning, and decided to spend the day unpacking and giving my room a long overdue cleaning. I turned on the radio and for some reason settled on the Christian music station. Brad always changed the channel when I tried to listen to that kind of music with him, and I enjoyed hearing some of my old favorites. A hymn hour came on, stirring memories of childhood Sundays.

The next morning after another night of little sleep, I decided I’d go to church since I was awake anyway. Not knowing where else to go, I walked down to Main Street Pentecostal.

Lacey looked surprised when I slipped into the pew next to her just as the sermon got started. Brother Thomas preached on Hebrews 6:4-6. He opened by reading the passage aloud:

“For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come—and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.”

Was I “such people”? Even though I’d never been sure I was the right kind of Christian, it seemed certain that I’d been once enlightened. Infant baptism, asking Jesus into my heart, responding to an altar call … at least one of those had to have counted. And now I was openly defying God. Wasn’t that the very essence of turning away from Him? Maybe that’s why I’d lost the old joy of Christmas. The phrase “it is impossible to bring back to repentance,” rang in my ears all day.