You Reap What You Sowbyfgoodwin©
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
IN THAT GREAT!... GETTIN' UP MORNIN'!... FAIRLY WELL! ...FAIRLY WELL!...sing choir!... IN THAT GREAT!... GETTIN' UP MORNIN'! ...praise him! ...FAIRLY WELL!...FAIRLY WELL!...low whisper...In that great gettin' up morning'... fairly well...fairly well...
"That was an awesome goin' home service. Mr. Dave would have truly liked that," Sidney said, as she reached over to hug me. All the while I am thinking to myself this hussy never speaks to me, now what is she up to because I will still beat this bitch down in or outta church. Checking myself I gave in to the olive branch and returned Sidney's embrace because if Mr. Dave were still alive he would not be pleased with two young ladies hatin' on one another instead of helping one another.
* * * * * * *
I will never forget the night I walked into First Baptist Church of Our Lord. It was New Year's Eve 2003 when I entered through those red oversized wooden doors of the church. Mr. Dave was standing right there to greet me, as well as, all the other worshipers as they arrived. He was a very tall man, with a light caramel complexion, I figured he was well over sixty-five but at the same time, I saw him as a handsome man, and a distinguished gentleman. He had been the gatekeeper... Arm bearer of the church for the past fifteen or so years and everyone who knew him, loved and respected him for his advice, and his words of wisdom.
Every time he smiled, it reminded me of a fairytale in which Prince Charming gallops onto the scene in order to save the damsel in distress, then smiles and winks at his audience with a twinkle in his eye and sparkle in his mouth, from the tooth that was outlined in gold.
Regardless of how much I had gone through at Shiloh Christian Church when it came time for me to find a new church home. I think I made a good choice when I chose to join my grandmothers church. I felt leery about joining another small congregation but those mega churches were not for me. It would take at least five years to get to know every parishioner, and that's only if they were still around after five years and then there would have been too many different attitudes to deal with. The only advantages to a large congregation are the choices of men to pick through. After you weed out all of the dedicated husbands, the D.L. brothers, the straight up and down faggots and those men whose looks could earn them a permanent home in the local zoo, there would be a good ten to twenty straight men left who truly loved the Lord. Personally, I don't attend church to mingle, I attend in order to get closer to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to build on my personal relationship with God. Aside from the promise of eternal life, finding a man just happens to be one of the fringe benefits.
I would tease Mr. Dave every now and then with, "If I were just a few years older and you were a few years younger you'd be in trouble."
His response was always the same, "Yeah, I'd still be old enough to be your father." We would laugh but I knew in my heart Mr. Dave was a good man, 'a rare man' and I would be so lucky if I were blessed with someone half as descent as he was. I am really going to miss the 'gate keeper.'
* * * * * * *
The bible says do not judge that you may be judged also. One thing Mr. Dave never did was judge me nor my past. If he knew anything about it, he certainly never let it be known. That just would not be in his character anyhow, he was the one person who treated me the same since knowing me. As for the rest of these heifers in this church, they can kiss my black ass because I am outta here!
Since when did love become a crime, I can not believe those sidity B's called themselves silencing some damn body and that fool ass momma's boy can stay right where the hell he is because I am through with him. Shit, he knew he was married when he approached me to come out to his church's summer revival.
* * * * * * *
It was a little over a year ago during one of the hottest days on record in Philadelphia's history. I was standing in line waiting to play the lottery, which I rarely do, the only thing that has me out here in this heat is the amount of money in the jackpot, it's at two hundred and fifteen million dollars. I can usually afford to throw away five dollars on the lottery every time it accumulates to over one hundred million dollars. While standing there sweating¾there aren't any bullets yet¾but I can feel it getting there. My exposed brown skin is at a shiny glisten, and I can feel the heat rising and the bullets forming when out of no where Prince Charming shows up, hands me a napkin from Dunkin Donuts, and says, "You are going to need this."
I said, "Excuse me!" as he pointed to the side of my face to let me know apparently while I was standing, mesmerized, in that line, imagining what I would do with my winnings, a waterfall had formed across my forehead and along the side of my face. There was so much sweat that when I wiped my brow with the napkin it broke apart and now I was embarrassed because my Prince was the finest man I had laid my eyes on in a long time. He took notice of my facial dilemma and quickly handed me another napkin that he pulled from his PECO uniform pocket. As a build up of sweat accumulated again, again another napkin was shredded to pieces under the pressure of the moisture.
I sarcastically said to him, "Thanks a lot."
All the while trying to be as sexy and as cunning as possible under the circumstances. Finally, when I got up to the window to purchase my tickets, like a boy scout, 'always prepared', the Arab owner of the newspaper/lottery stand had a cooler full of ice-cold waters for sale. I stuck my hand down into the ice to retrieve a bottle of spring water. The water was so cold it instantly cooled my entire body. Mr. Man who apparently had been standing in line behind me, handed me a one dollar bill and offered to pay for my water but I sweetly and sensually declined his offer. I told him that I would have to had bought something to quench my thirst whether he caused me to have what looked like crumbled toilet paper stuck to my face or not.
Then I saw for what would be my first time, but certainly not my last, his smile. He had the most beautiful smile that just accented his perfect face and his perfect body. I have always been a sucker for a perfect smile, a teeth person, a persons teeth and their smile play a very important role in their overall appearance not to mention it dictates their character. I wish every man could realize this. They appeared to be pearly white against the backdrop of his chocolate colored skin. He was tall, but not NBA tall, I've never cared for basketball tall anyway. He was maybe six-feet, in good shape, and looked as if he worked out, but he didn't seem to over do it.
We formally introduced ourselves. His name was Aidan Peacock and he was buying lottery tickets for the same reasons that I had stood in that hot ass line for over twenty minutes¾the two hundred million dollars. Some how in our brief conversation he slipped in that he was a church going man and that his church was having their summer revival this week. As he handed me a business sized card that had the name and address of the church imprinted on it, in gold lettering, he told me that his father was the head pastor of the church. At first, I was a little thrown off, but I took the card anyway and told him that I would try to get to the Revival one day this week.
When I returned home later that day I began contemplating about the run-in I had with Prince Charming the utility worker. It's not as if I am a hedonistic church hater, it's just that I have never been invited to church on a first date. Actually, I was what the church folk call 'raised in the church' until I was old enough to make my own choices regarding my salvation. After talking to my girlfriend Felicia, who never ceases to remind me that I am not getting any younger and that it's time for me to settle down, she goes on to say 'what's better than a man¾with a job¾who is into the church¾and not by default, considering his parents are deeply rooted into the church.'
I took the business card out of my pink Coach clutch that, Raymond, my last Prince Charming had given me the day before he accused me of screwing his nineteen-year-old cousin¾Reggie¾and beat the hell out of me. I thank God that he didn't do any permanent damage, the shot was good but it wasn't worth all that. And to think they are both the grandson's of my grandmother's boss, municipal Judge Ernest C. Grantz. I wound up losing an agency job because of that incident, they claimed they wanted to give me some time off for my wounds to heal but the bottom line was they didn't want any trouble with 'gang bangers' on their property. As if blacks are the only people who experience domestic violence. History tells a different side of that story but anyway... The church wasn't that far away from my home but I would need to catch the bus. My car had broken down and it was going to cost me more than I wanted to spend in order to fix it. Fuck it, I decided to go to the revival, it couldn't hurt anything and besides this might be just what I was lacking in my life.
I hadn't been to church in so long that I can't remember when the last time was. It may have been a funeral if not maybe something that my grandmother invited me to. Since my adulthood my most recent church experiences were limited to Tyler Perry's stage plays based on a gun toting grandmamma named Mabel Simmons aka Madea. Aidan told me that devotion would start at 7:00 pm on the dot. I looked through my closet and debated for over an hour as to what I should wear. The heat had me leaning closely to a tight short mini skirt that I would usually wear if I were going out to party at one of the clubs on Delaware Ave. I decided against going that route because although it was extremely hot and muggy outside, this is a church service I am planning on strutting into. After careful deduction, I decided to wear a long, sleek, white linen dress with slits that ran the distance of my long legs and stopped at the peak of my thighs. Even though I went with a cover all dress I decided to wear my black thong and bra set that cuz Reg bought me from Victoria Secret. After I took a long cool shower, I dried my body off with one of my fluffy towels that smelled just like April freshness.
Before slipping into my dress, I oiled my body with baby oil, making sure I got my elbows, knees, and shins really good. My feet were still looking good from the pedicure that May-Ling did on Saturday. I lightly powdered my back and chest area to absorb some of the perspiration that was bound to form due to the warmness outside. I also made sure I sucked up as much air conditioning as I could before I stepped out into the oppressive heat.
When I arrived at the church, late, as I had planned, the church was a full house which let me know right away that this church service was bound to be good. The choir had everybody standing up, out of their seats, clapping and singing their praises to God. I selfishly felt insulted that not many people took notice of me stepping into the church. It was understandable under the circumstances, but I still couldn't help feeling some type of way, because the one thing that was always true was that I always looked good. From what I've been told and shown, that would be deliciously good. Out of the one hundred plus partying churchgoers one person did take notice and when our eyes met it was as if we had known each other's innermost feelings and the depths of one another souls. Not to mention he looked so good I wanted to take him right here! Right now! And from what I saw he looked like he would definitely be something to write home to momma about. It was weird but the temperature of certain parts of my body began to rise and I didn't like what was going on, probably because it was going on in a church. Quickly I regained my composer and began to join in with the rest of the church, I started praising the Lord, singing, and I even threw in a few "Hallelujahs" and "Amens."
When the service ended I was so worked up that I wanted some more. And I was so glad that I had came. Anyone with a nose could smell the aroma of chicken throughout the service and a few of the elderly members of the church who noticed that I was obviously not a regular member extended me an invitation to take part in the refreshments that were being served. I politely declined, as I was tired and there was no telling how long I would have to wait for the bus to get home. Aidan had been stuck up at the front of the church smiling, hugging and greeting the parishioners, along with a man who must have been his father given that they could have passed for twins except for the robe and collar on the other man. We made eye contact again and I hand motioned to him that I was about to leave, when he realized what I was trying to say he started to make his way towards me. It took him at least ten minutes but he finally made it. When he reached where I was standing, right in front of me, he took my hands and shook them gingerly, then he thanked me for coming. He asked if I had come with someone or alone. I told him that I came alone, that I arrived via the bus, and that I needed to be going because it was late. What happened next would set things in motion that would nearly ruin me forever and cause me to become labeled a jezebel, a whore and a home wrecker.
"It is too late for someone as pretty as you are to be riding the bus at this time of night. I won't take no for an answer, I'm in charge of the transportation for the church members and I'll set up a ride for you to get home," he almost demanded. He suggested that I go down stairs to the dining area and get something cool to drink, even though I did not want anything to eat. I was flattered and I accepted the offer but for the second time tonight I felt somewhat offended. Why would he set up a ride for me with their van service instead of him personally taking me home? After a little consideration I thought that maybe he already shared a ride with his parents or someone else. I decided to worry about that later and went to get that drink, my mouth had become parched.
The dining area was pretty big, it could easily seat at least two hundred people. The lines had begun to recede and I was able to go straight to the punch bowl for something to drink. It was tropical fruit punch flavored kool-aid, jazzed up with lemon and orange slices and a couple cans of ginger ale were added for spark. As I sat at a table alone, sipping cautiously on the punch, trying to avoid getting any spills on my dress, I began to notice the floodgates starting to open. Whispers are to be expected when you do not want someone to hear what's being said, but stares, finger pointing and nods are the most blatant form of gossip known to woman and they made no secret as to who their whispers were directed. Little did these hens know, I live to be seen and I thrive on being noticed. Therefore, when Aidan appeared in the dining hall I kindly stood up and gently ran my hand down the front of my dress and in the same motion I did it to the back, as though I were feeling up myself. I threw my eyes onto Aidan and began to walk over to him, as all eyes were now focused on me, the young and the old, and just when I reached my destination, out of nowhere, the 'church lady' appeared. She was an older woman, very stylish and I would consider her to be somewhat classy if she would let go of the uppity air about her. They gray streak of hair in the front of her head didn't help either. Shit, she looks like Cruella DeVille.
She began to speak to Aidan, "Honey, what time will you be here tomorrow because there are some things we need to go over?"
And as if I appeared from nowhere or in her facial opinion a mound of dirt, she looks over at me and asks, "Can I help you?"
Right at the moment I was about to answer her Aidan steps in with, "Mom this is a visitor who I met at the store today and I invited her to join us in revival," looking over at me, "I hoped you enjoyed your visit with us?"
I answered with, "Yes I did, I truly enjoyed myself this evening and your father was awesome!"
"You've met my husband?" said church lady before looking me up and down.
"No ma'am, Aidan told me that his father was the pastor of the church and that he would bring forth the word all week long."
"Oh, I see¾well Aidan dear, let's not keep people waiting," church lady said as she walked away and over to a larger group of church ladies.
I told Aidan if he had to handle something for his mother that he should go ahead and I would catch the bus home. Since I was off from work tomorrow, time really didn't mean a thing. He thoroughly refused to hear of it and asked me if I could spare just fifteen minutes, he would personally take me home. I decided to go upstairs, stand outside, and wait. Luckily the heat had finally began to let up.
I noticed my Prince again as he was loading a huge church van with mostly elderly women, who were likely widows, and a couple of women with their children. Aidan explained to me that since every stop was pre-mapped out he had to drop me off last because he didn't want to throw off his order. As we drove through the dark streets of Philadelphia I wondered if he realized that he practically rode pass my apartment building. Hell, maybe he did realize it but since I neglected to say any thing why would he. When the last person was dropped off it was a little after mid-night and since it would look foolish with me sitting in the back of this big van all alone I decided to move to the front passenger seat, without any rejections from the driver. We talked more about the services and he asked if I planned to come back the rest of the week. I had been thinking about that all evening and he sweetened the deal when he offered to pick me up and drop me off with the van service. When we finally arrived at my apartment, me being the person that I am and with nowhere to be in the morning, invited him to come in. He graciously declined because he needed to get the van back to the church, so that it could be locked in the parking lot.
The next evening the van pulled up outside my apartment building at a quarter to seven and through the bathroom door I heard the beep of my intercom so I hurried and checked myself in the full mirror once more. Due to another day of overwhelming heat I gave in and wore some of my skimpier attire, which would usually be seen as slutty in a church setting, but the intensity of the heat and humidity outside made me the envy of those who did not, nor would not look as good as I do in my clothes. I flew out the door with hopes of seeing Mr. Charming but to my surprise there stood an elderly man in the middle of the street with a footstool positioned on the ground in front of the opened sliding door of the van, there to help me step up and into my seat. The thought crossed my mind to ask pops where was brother Aidan but I thought better of it, in view of the fact that there were women seated in the van already and I did not want to get the gossip mills churning.
As expected the service was so thrilling and uplifting that I nearly shouted all over the sanctuary. I was on my feet praising the Lord almost all night and ironically tonight's sermon had been about the weakness of the flesh and being faithful to God first and all else would follow.