Driving as the rain falls in a drizzle on the car, I see a white church on the side of the mountain, “That is the first church I’ve seen in a long time.” He says with disdain, “Well, this sure isn’t Siloam Springs, ‘where Jesus is Lord’.” I wonder, “Why do you think there are so few churches up here?” “The people that live up here in these small mountain towns are really weird. Anyways, how do we know if the God we worship is the real God?” he queries. I look at him sideways, feeling the air thicken in the car. I answer, “What do you mean?”
He replies, “Everyone thinks they worship God, but they all have different views of him. The Catholics see it one way and the Protestants another.” The monologue continues as I disconnect, recognizing this is a fight that nobody will win. When he pauses for a minute, I respond, “But God is so much bigger than all our imaginings of Him. He is in all and through all and in Him all things hold together.” He’s irritated now, “Oh, ya. Is that even in the Bible? You’re such a good, little girl. Aren’t you? You’re so self-righteous, you know? You always have the right answer. Sometimes there is no right answer, Jen.” The silence is heavy and dark. What did I say wrong? I work to think back through the conversation as the tears come.
We drive into town, my cheeks hot from emotion, I ask if we can eat here, aching to get some space from the tension. We stop, and I look in the mirror to fix my makeup. “I’m a wreck,” I think, as I touch up my face. I stumble out of the car, so grateful for the cool air outside. We’ve found a quaint, earthy restaurant. We stand outside the restaurant and ask someone to take our picture. A little closer together now; smile for the picture. That’s right! What a cute couple; post it on Facebook; put it in a frame.