Saturday, December 20, 2014

Chapter 39, part 2: Life is Messy

The Quad was unusually crowded with people when I walked to class the next morning. I caught snippets of conversation as I went past. Someone was dead, but I couldn’t make out who or why.

I spotted Sylvie and Jenny and rushed over to them. Tears streamed down their faces. Where was Breanne?

“What’s going on, girls?” Fear and regret gripped my heart as I waited for the answer. I had never apologized to Breanne for how badly I handled that ill-advised confrontation last semester. She couldn’t be dead, could she?

“It’s Melissa’s kid brother,” answered Sylvie. “They found him this morning in Reid. Suicide.”

“Here, look, it’s all over the news,” Jenny said as she shoved her phone into my hand.

Anti-gay bullying leads to another teen suicide, read the headline.

My heart went out to Melissa’s parents, losing a son. As intense my grief at my potential miscarriage had been, it was only a fraction of what they must be feeling.

That afternoon someone from the administration pulled me out of my first class and escorted me to the office of the college president. Was Rev. Reynolds’ right to warn me?

“Giselle, thank you for coming. Take a seat,” she said.

“What’s this about?”

“You probably heard that an Elk River student committed suicide last night.”
“I did. He was the brother of a friend of mine. I’m in shock. But why am I here?” Were my words last night considered hate speech? Was I about to be expelled?

“We’re investigating what role, if any, members of the student body may have had in his death.”

“How can I help? I never actually met him.”

“But it seems you may be acquainted with one of his alleged bullies. Do you know a Robert Grimes?”

This was about Rob! “Yes. He was the boyfriend of my roommate last year.”

“Ah yes, Lacey Johnson. She is my next interview. Do you have anything to report that may help us understand his typical behavior or identify any other potential victims?”

“I think I do. One of my best friends is gay,” I began, but trailed off as guilt stabbed through me. If Breanne really were one of my best friends, why hadn’t I tried to set things right or even spoken to her after that horrible stupid confrontation? I took a deep breath and continued. “Rob called her derogatory names when talking about her with me. And she told me that he harassed her.”

The president flipped through her notes. “I believe we’ve already interviewed your friend, a Miss Gonzalez? She is the one who suggested that we speak with you. Thank you, you are free to go.”

On my way out, I saw Lacey waiting near the reception desk. “I’m sorry,” was all I could say.

“Don’t be. I’m sure you told the truth, just like I am going to. I shouldn’t have put up with Rob’s cruelty to others as long as I did. I thought he was so spiritual. I’m only sorry it took something so tragic to open my eyes to his true nature.”

We hugged and she headed toward the president’s office. Before going in, Lacey turned. “Can you wait for me? I’d love to catch up.”

“I’d really like that, but I’m going to have to take a rain check. There is someone I owe an apology to.”

I just hoped Breanne would hear me out.

I had just stepped out of the administration building on to the Quad when my phone rang.

It was Breanne. “Did you get my text? I wanted to give you a heads up that I gave your name to President Hunt.”

“Don’t know how I missed it, but she already had me in her office. I told her everything I could. Hey, are you free to meet up? I miss hanging out.”

Breanne and I agreed to meet in her room at the Volleyball house that afternoon.

While we discussed Melissa’s brother and Rob, she cleared a space for me on her bed, moving aside an open Bible and notebook. Looked like she had kept her word about following Jesus without CSF.

“Not to change the subject, but Jenny told me about the baby,” Breanne said. “You doing okay?”

“A little queasy all the time, and not sure how I’m going to do this, but surprisingly, yeah. I’m doing okay.”

“Your faith is so strong. You’ll get through this.”

“It’s been a lot shakier than I’ve let on. I’ve doubted everything: my salvation, whether God meant what he said, and even His very existence.”

“Your faith? Shaky? I can’t get over that. You’re like my spiritual hero. I thought I was the only one who had doubts and struggles.”

“Far from it. Our struggles aren’t all that different in fact. Even before I started having sex with Brad, I’d been feeling guilty about reading sexy stories but not able to stop. I thought God was angry with me all the time.”

“I know that feeling,” Breanne said. “That’s why it hit me so hard when Ian said God loved me. I still have trouble believing it sometimes, but He shows me every day that it’s true. Sylvie has been a big help too.”

I nodded. “I love that girl! Sylvie is the one who helped me see God’s invitation to come running for forgiveness.”

“Sounds like things aren’t so shaky anymore then?”

“It’s completely different. God used this whole situation to show me how broken I am and how much I need His grace, but more, how abundant that grace is. I shared a testimony about it this week at Soulfire, when I told everyone about the baby. I wish you had been there to hear it, but I understand why you weren’t. I’m so sorry for the part I played in making you feel unwelcome.”

“Thanks for saying that. I forgive you. I realized almost instantly that I had overreacted, but my stupid pride kept me away. I should have been honored that you guys cared enough about me to call me on stuff like that. Being with Lori the way I was, at least outside of a real commitment, was not God’s best for me.”
I still wasn’t sure if God approved of any homosexual relationship, but it didn’t feel right to say anything to Breanne about it. A lot of the Biblical patriarchs had more than one wife, but that didn’t stop God from being in their lives. I was pregnant, and God was still inviting me to deeper relationship with Him. Life was messy and we were sinners, but it seemed like God’s plan allowed for that as he journeyed with us.