This diary entry is part 21 of 28 in Lily's diary dated 31 - January 2024

Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!


That word has been reverberating through my head still today.  So much so that I…  went to see the pastor.

I didn’t tell anyone.  I had class anyway, so I just… went.

He was in his office, doing, well, pastory stuff, and I knocked and entered.

He looked genuinely surprised.

“Lily?”, he said, “I thought I’d never see you again!”

“You almost didn’t,” I said.  “I’m pretty upset with you.  I’m even more upset with you than I was before.  But…  I don’t think it’s right to not talk things over.  Someone told me I’m being selfish.  Damn her,” I said softly, “but she’s not really wrong.  But…  I don’t think I’m the only one here who’s… ummm”

I felt a kind of knocking on my head.  “Really?  Now?,” I thought to myself, just heard a chuckle, and that voice saying “Let me talk for a little bit.  It might make things a little easier.”

“Fine,” I thought, and let whatever was going to happen, happen.”

“Bryan,” ‘I’ said, “Lily has a gift.  A very special gift, one that I gave specifically to her.  There are very few people in this world with this gift.  She is very special to me, for she has given much, had much taken, and had much given in return.  However, while you consider her a part of your ‘flock’, which is understandable, she is not. She is your equal – only her commission is different.  Treat her as you would the most precious of things, because that is everything she is to me, and more.  Do not forget what you promised when you prayed to me, all those years ago.  Do you remember, Bryan?”

He nodded mutely.

“You have served me well, Bryan.  However, Lily is not wrong.  You have never hesitated to take advantage of or use people if you felt it was in furtherance of my kingdom.  Do not forget whose kingdom it is, and there is no place for that there.  Lily is not perfect and will not always guide you perfectly, but she is my daughter, and I expect you will treat her, and the rest of your flock, as such from here on.  They are my children, not yours.  You are but the shepherd.  Am I clear?”

He nodded again, mutely, and looking a little like a chastened puppy.

“Keep doing my work.  While I care about everyone, I do not chasten those who do not care about me.  I return Lily to you.”

It was quiet in the room.  There was a clock in the corner resolutely ticking, it felt a little bit like an omen, and a little bit like a promise.  Tick, tick, tick.

Finally, he spoke.  “I…  guess I stand corrected,” he said.

“That’s not very comfortable,” I said, softly.  “It feels like my brain is being twisted in directions it doesn’t want to go.  I hope that doesn’t happen frequently.”

He blew out a breath.  “Honestly, me too.  That was not pleasant.”

“So where from here?,” I said.  “I’m angry with you.  You’ve done some very good things for all of us, but when push came to shove, you didn’t treat either me or Anathema very well.  You tricked me, and you used Anathema at a very vulnerable time for her.”

“I want to argue.  But it seems someone agrees with you. And I can’t very well argue with him, can I?”

“You can.  I don’t think it will do you any good.”

He was quiet for a little while.  “So…  what do you want?”

“I want to feel safe in your church.”

He flinched.  “That hurt.”

“Maybe it should.”

“Maybe it should,” he repeated back, and sighed.  “There are so many things a person with your gift could do,” he said, a little wistfully.  “But I suppose it never was my place to try to shape you in that regard, was it?”

I shook my head.  “Your job is to counsel, to teach, maybe even sometimes to admonish… but never to shape.”

“I see,” he said, quietly.  “That may have been my mistake.”

I nodded.  “It may have.  Let me explore my gifts in my own time.  Don’t pressure me.  Let me be a part of the community in my own way.  We… seem to be on the same team, after all.”

“What… team do you think we’re on?”

I shrugged.  “The same one.  I don’t understand any of this.”

“Do you… want to learn?”

I thought for a bit.  “No,” I said, softly.  “Not right now.  I feel like the more I learn, the more I’ll try to shape my gifts to match what I’ve learned, and I feel like…. that will quench them.  No, just let me be.  I will seek you out when I have something to talk to you about.  And you may feel free to do the same with me.  But only that.  No more.”

He nodded.  “Do you…. have any advice?”

I thought, and I even asked.  Nothing.  “No.  It seems everything has been said that needs to be said.  I’ll take my leave now.  Thanks for seeing me with no notice.”

“Thank you, Lily.  I have much to think about.  I would speak with Anathema when she has time.  Can you arrange that?”

“I can.  I’ll speak to her.  She might come to church again before I can arrange that.  I have an overseas trip to make this weekend.  I won’t be here.”

“I understand.”

I stood up, shook his hand perfunctorily, and walked out.  There wasn’t much more to say.

I told Sabby what happened.  She…  doesn’t really seem to know what to make of it.  She’s still a little cheesed at me, but I think she realizes there’s something going on that’s bigger than her, so she’s just kind of keeping her head down.  I bought her a chocolate shake, though, for old times’ sake.  She seemed to accept it in the spirit it was intended.  Of course I got one for me too… because I’m not going to pass up a chance for chocolate, duh.

Yuki is over tonight.  She has been teaching me a lot about Japanese work culture, with an emphasis on idols.  There’s a lot to remember, but I think I at least know enough to not seriously stick my foot in it.  She also gave me a few acting tips.  It’s not like I have to be Sir Lawrence Olivier or anything like that, but it might help to be a little convincing.

Minami has been in touch too.  She’s so happy I’m coming over to see her, and to see her work.  She’s going to be on that dance team too.  Not the center or anything, but I dunno, maybe eighth girl from the left?  She’s been telling all her idol friends about me, and me all about them, and they’re looking forward to meeting me too.  She’s trying to schedule an afternoon where all the idols and me can go out for boba or something.  She warned me if that happens, cameras are probably going to follow, and to not be surprised if there’s a “making of” video at some point where I figure prominently.  Figures.  She also said they’re probably going to try to get Yuki to participate a little, too.  Not surprising.  That’d make perfect sense.  She said she’d decide if or when they tell her what they want her to do.

I hope I’m not a disappointment.  At this point, I don’t know if I’m their senpai, their kouhai, or something else entirely.  Maybe a combination of all three.

Oh well, onwards, I guess.  I’m going to forget about church and the pastor for right now.  Everything was said that needs to be said, and I have a trip to Japan coming up, so yay.  Plus after I get back I need to meet with the conductor, so…  need to practice a lot over the next few days.  And maybe the studio has a piano I can use.

Love you all!!! ❤️

From the creator

This one kinda fought me.  I hope it came out okay.

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