(Continued from part four)
I was still at the bookshelves when they invited me to the dining room table.
“You have a first edition of F.F. Bosworth, two of E.W. Kenyon’s, and even a John G. Lake. I’ve never seen some of these before.”
“And you read those in 2018?” Micah asked.
“No, more like the late 1980s… I actually corresponded with Kenyon’s daughter and son-in-law for a while.”
It’s my natural inclination to look at bookshelves, but this time it had been a mistake. It pulled them into thinking about doctrine, as divisive a subject as could be found. Saying the wrong thing might torpedo our budding relationship, and kill their hopes one last, bitter time.
I was ready guide to the conversation away from doctrine and toward principles like love, when they asked me to say grace before the meal. That, thankfully, was a doctrinal test I could pass. But as I looked at their faces (while saying “Certainly, I’d love to”), I saw that they were less concerned about my doctrine and more concerned about gaining some sort of insight from the things that I – a God-chosen man of the future – might say. And so I ad-libbed as best I could, remembering a line from Jesus: “What to say will be given to you in that hour.”
“We thank you, Father,” I began, “not so much for the food itself, but more for a world from which such food can be brought forth, for the men and women who work to bring these foodstuffs to us, and for all the men and women whose contributions have blessed us and our world over the ages. And I thank you, Father, for the good and kind people I connected with so quickly on this mission of mine. May my ability rise to the level of my desires for their blessing and peace. Amen.”
They were moved by the words, and I by the fact that I found them.
Our dinner was pleasant, with the conversation running around our mutual histories and our families. But as I examined their faces, I saw that they were thinking of me as some type of advanced and enlightened being. I was ready to turn move the conversation toward some of the stupid things I had done over the years, but before I could I was struck by the fact that it wasn’t a good idea. And so I excused myself from the table and walked to their bathroom.
“What helps them?” I muttered to myself in my temporary isolation. Soon enough I realized that I was trying to maintain absolute truth while still trying to help them… and that doing both wasn’t going to happen. If I told them the absolute truth about this situation… that they were temporary beings… it would probably break them. And if I made it clear that I wasn’t some super-special, chosen-by-God person, that would likely break them as well.
And so, if I cared about these people, absolute honesty was out of the question. But that, to me, is a problem, because over the years I’ve developed a deep distaste for being false. Not because it’s against the rules, but because it twists me on the inside.
* * * * *