Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!
And it’s Sunday!!!
… I don’t like Sundays as much as I like Saturdays.
So today we went to church. Me, the family, and Yuki. Liz never really goes with us, she’s not a churchy type girl. Don’t blame her I suppose. She’s gone once or twice but didn’t really like it.
Yuki doesn’t really understand church, but she likes it. She says it reminds her a bit of an idol concert, except the congregation doesn’t have glow sticks and the pastor can’t dance. You know that meme where you hold up your finger about to argue and just deflate because she’s right? Yeah. It was like that. I really never thought about that before, but it’s pretty accurate. And I don’t think I’ll ever look at church quite the same way again.
Something weird happened, though.
The assistant pastor said they were trying something new, and having teenagers in the congregation give a prayer. And he immediately honed in on me and asked me to stand up and give one.
I said “what? me? I don’t know how to pray. I’ve never prayed in my life!”
But, well… everyone kind of applauded, and, well, peer pressure. So I stood up and walked towards the pulpit. At that moment it looked like the most intimidating thing ever.
I’ve performed in front of hundreds or thousands of people. I wasn’t really all that nervous.
I’ve given tv interviews. I wasn’t really all that nervous.
I sat in front of a few hundred people who were telling me how much they loved me for my birthday. I wasn’t really all that nervous.
Heck, I rode in the same car as a very high level government official and her military escort, and I wasn’t really all that nervous.
Walking up to that pulpit… I was nervous.
I stood there for a bit, and the assistant pastor stood out of the way and waited for me to start.
“God,” I finally said, “it’s me, Lily.” Everyone who reads my diary giggled. “They… umm.. asked me to pray, and I don’t know how to pray or what to say.”
That same little voice I heard when the pastor was praying the other week spoke. “It’s okay. I’ll help.”
Then words just started coming out of my mouth. I don’t even remember all of what I said, it was all a blur. It didn’t feel like I was the one speaking. It took fifteen minutes. I prayed for individual members of the congregation, for problems I didn’t even know about and don’t remember. I prayed for the church, I prayed for the world, I prayed for anything and everything. Finally, after all that, I just… stopped. Then I looked at the congregation, where some people were outright sobbing. Yuki, too.
“Ummm… amen?” I said, and walked slowly off the stage.
The assistant pastor went back up to the pulpit, and cleared his throat. “Ummm… thank you, Lily. That was… something.” He paused for a bit, then threw up his hands. “I can’t top that. Have a good week.” Then he left the pulpit and the murmuring started.
Yuki looked at me, tears in her eyes. “How did you even know?”
“you prayed for my obaasan. She’s been sick for a while. I never told you that!”
“I… don’t know?” I said,
Sabby sighed. “Lily… what am I going to do with you?”
“Take me home,” I said, quietly. “That’s what you can do with me.”
And so we went home. We didn’t even bother with the chocolate pancakes. Not a moment too soon, because people were starting to line up to talk to me and I didn’t even know what had happened, so I just ran.
We dropped Yuki off on the way back. She looked really pensive, but gave me a hug before she went into her house. “I guess your… situation… means a little more than collecting sisters,” she said softly. “Thank you.”
“Lily, you’ve done nothing but be Lily, and…. and I love you for it. This is… just another thing about you to love. We’ll talk later.” Then she gave me an anime headpat (HAHAHAAH) and went inside.
So Sabby called the pastor pretty much immediately when we got home, sabbatical be damned. I could only hear one side of the conversation, but you could hear her getting more and more angry. I thought she was going to throw the phone across the room. Then she said, “fine. You tell her, then.” and handed the phone to me. “Pastor has something to tell you.” Then she went upstairs and started to draw a bath.
“Uhhh,” I said eruditely. “Why is she so angry?”
He was quiet on the other end. “Because I.. umm.. suspected something. And chose a very poor way to see if it was true. I… put him up to that. I said ‘Have Lily give the prayer, and let’s see what happens.”
I sighed. “And you couldn’t have talked to me?”
More silence. “I… didn’t expect that,” he said. “I wondered if your being touched by heaven, as you put it, gave you a little more of a connection with the divine than most of us have normally, and…” he kind of faltered off. “I’m sorry, Lily. That was a mistake.”
I thought for a while. “I don’t think it was,” I said softly.
“I don’t think it was a mistake. See, if it were a mistake, nothing would have happened. I would have gotten up on the podium, stammered through a completely dumb prayer, and then I would have been embarrassed, and I would have been mad at being put through that. But, instead… well… you were right, and God chose to speak. How can that be a mistake?”
He was silent.
“But I’m not doing that every week,” I said, just as softly. “I don’t want to be made an object of. I don’t want people coming to me and getting mad when their prayers aren’t answered. I have a former Japanese idol as a friend, and I know what happens when people start expecting things from you that you can’t deliver, especially because it’s not my power to begin with, and I don’t know what it is or anything about it other than strange things happen sometimes. I don’t think this was a mistake. I do think you’re the pastor, and this is your flock, and you’d better figure out a way through this that lets me keep my identity intact.”
“That’s fair,” he said. “Don’t come to church next week. I’ll give a sermon about spiritual gifts, and we’ll get through this. But, Lily?”
“What?”, I asked.
“You’re a spiritual leader now. What kind, is up to you. I won’t ask anything of you. But you clearly have a gift. What are you going to do with it?” He asked.
“Try to calm Sabby down,” I said.
He chuckled. “Well, if anyone can do it… Lily… please don’t be angry.”
“I’m not,” I said. “But don’t do that again. Talk to me first. You’re the pastor, you have the flock, but we’re equals in God.” … where did that come from?
He agreed, and we hung up. Sigh. That was difficult.
Sabby came down from the tub a half hour later, and I told her what the pastor and I had talked about. She calmed down a little as I was telling her, and after I told her what we’d agreed, she sighed.
“Nothing normal ever happens to you, does it, Lily?”
I guess it doesn’t.
She called the pastor back and they had a much more civil discussion. He might come over this week for a more indepth chat.
Anyway, Jack and I had a date tonight. I told him everything that happened, and he just said simply, “I guess that’s what your memories paid for.”
I sighed. He’s probably right. He’s probably really right. After dinner we went to a movie and took advantage of the dark for a little kissing. I forget what the movie was about. I don’t care. Hahaha!!!
Oh… Yuki called me. She was crying. Her obaasan is healed.