It didn’t matter what she did, it wasn’t good enough.
Evangeline let the door slam behind her. Her mop of curls bounced auburn at her forehead. Stones nipped the callouses on her bare feet, but there were no stupid rules along the creek bank.
Turtles and tadpoles didn’t care if she drank eight ounces of warm water first thing. They never forgot to turn on the cold for three minutes before they left the shower.
Those daisies along the path—pure-white petals sparkling with morning dew—weren’t concerned about going to church to have old ladies with hardened eyes check their skirt length or note if they’d painted their nails.
The remains of her father’s mandatory raw almonds stuck to her teeth. Her tongue raked them loose. She spit.
If God was this, there had to be a different choice.
* * *
It mattered what she did when it came to others.
Evangeline rose from her desk of polished walnut and glanced at her watch. Lunch with the mayor in fifteen minutes. A slip of joy coursed her heart. Together they would accomplish nothing but good. Kids would enter college. Single moms would find meaningful employment. The arts would be funded.
Three teenagers smiled up from a desk photo. Her children. How she loved them. She patted at her curls, then shrugged into her tailored jacket, but no straight-jacket religion for them. Church was optional.
Oh, she had done the church thing and gotten burned and betrayed in the process. No bitterness, though. She did have a choice about that. She did have a choice to love.
Choices—logical, well-considered…and helpful—impacted lives. Now and for the future.
God’s rules and expectations only muddied the water.
* * *
What had mattered most?
Cradling her coffee, Evangeline settled onto her porch swing. She tugged at a wisp of gray, then flipped the strand away from her face.
A rosy dawn eased over the mirrored surface of the lake. Her favorite view. She lifted her cup and breathed in the soothing aroma.
An empty nest. Retirement. Financial security. A healthy, still active body. A husband, asleep inside, whom she wouldn’t call a soul-mate, but could always admire. Siblings who waded with her out of their shared spiritual abuse….
Through it all, had she found her own identity? Or was it mixed with expectations that made demands from her parents’ graves?
A kingfisher skimmed the water’s surface. Its squeal of freedom echoed the shoreline. She shook her head, feeling the curls. When she looked within, whom did she see?
I’m a woman who’s chosen love, and that is good.
Along with her sip of coffee, the truth slid its warmth through her body.
I don’t know about God, but I’ve chosen love.
* * *
“God is love.”1 John 4:8
“…Everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”I John 4:7