A Cross To Bear
Looking back, I think I got my adoration for the Lord all mixed up with my feelings for Pastor Whimple. Not that it was his fault. He used to exhort me all the time to love the Lord, my God, with all my heart. Back then he always held my hand in the dark when the youth department had a movie night, and he would say those words to me over and over again.
I really cherished those times. At least at first. My daddy left when I was three and if it hadn't been for Pastor Whimple I might have gone my whole life long without knowing the love of a grownup man. It wasn't always good. I'd lie if I said different. One night when all the other kids had gone home, he pressed me up against the altar and put his hands under my skirt. I remember the feel of my face against that hard surface, a cold, almost icy feel. Which was weird since that altar had always looked so warm and rich on Sunday mornings.
Afterward he wiped my tears away and reminded me how we all have to carry a bit of the cross for the Lord. I guess you might say I worshipped that man. One time he took me on a camping trip up in the mountains west of the city and even stopped the car to show me the lights of Denver spread out far below. I imagined I could see the steeple from the church reaching right up to that mountain.
Once we got to the Lodge, we found out no one else could make it. But Pastor Whimple decided not to cancel so we just stayed the whole weekend. He built a fire in the fireplace and ended up doing a lot more touching than skiing. That's when the kissing began.
I started to get mad at him but then he cried. Said he was weak and mortal, just the kind of man Jesus died to save. When he started the kissing, he said he couldn't help himself, me being a fatherless child and all.
Later he got fired. Not because of me. Seems he'd done that same kind of loving to his own daughter and she told a school nurse. So for six months we didn't even have a pastor at the Foot of the Cross Victory Holiness Church. When we got one he never had movie nights or camping trips so I just grew on up and joined the Army.
Still, I must confess, every time I pray and picture my Lord up on that cross, He always looks exactly like Pastor Whimple.
First published: February, 2007
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