Wednesday, March 28, 2007

An Easter Story ~ Part 1: Gethsemane

An Easter Story ~ Part 2: Faith of our Fathers

An Easter Story ~ Part 3: A Man Hath Friends

An Easter Story ~ Part 4: Cock Crows Thrice

An Easter Story ~ Part 5: The Empty Tomb(final)

It wasn't by any means the first time that he didn't know what direction he was going in.

He fled to the mountains first, to give his life to God.

His folks were from here. His mother was a gentle soul who took her youngest son with her on Garden Club meetings and bridge parties. She infused him with a love of flowers and culture. But she was born in these hard scrabble hills and never forgot the place or the faith she was raised in. The old time religion of the mountains still sang in Scottie's soul. She was his anchor, his rock, his north star. As long as she lived, he could grasp her hand and feel quiet.

His father was a tall, erect military man, a veteran of multiple campaigns, with sharp eyes and a willing heart. The sort of man with direction and purpose. A man of faith. The sort of man who you were glad to have guarding your back. He didn't miss a trick. He could be harsh, but he was also fair. If you were looking for a hero, you didn't need to look further than George Smith.

Don't even think of filling this man's shoes. It can't be done. They just don't make them like that anymore.

Scottie's values were the values of his faith. The values of his parents. In all the years growing up, following his family to different countries as his father was stationed at different military bases, they kept their faith. The faith of the mountains.

Like the mountains, the faith of the mountains has sides both light and dark. It has it's greatest beauty in the fiery oratory of the pastors, the transcendent harmony of the music, the giving and friendly nature of the people and the womb-like sense of community they inspire. It's more than just literally accepting the Bible. It's more than just being saved or witnessing. It involves following a strict morality code.

Very near the top of this morality code is "Thou shalt not be homosexual." It is enforced with an iron fist. Not only is the sinner shunned but the sinner's entire family can be shunned. There is no single other faceless group that the worshipers hate with such intense biblical rage. The persecution is not a new thing, they were merely picking up a baton from generations of misunderstanding of human nature.

But Scott had a face. He truly was one of them.

He loved his family more than tongue could tell. He wanted to be everything that his mother and father wanted him to be. He really tried. But he couldn't remember a time that he wasn't gay. That he didn't feel gay feelings. The conflict of believing so fiercely in his faith created a destructive worm of self-loathing that he couldn't escape. He worried constantly about burning in hell. He really believed that.

Scott's closet was a dangerous place where he was being slowly eaten alive.

He held it together until his mother died. As long as he had her there, he felt he had an anchor. He could hold everything together for her.

And when she died of cancer, the bottom of his world dropped out.

The rain that night fell like bullets down onto the glassy black of the freeway that other time he took off in his truck eight years ago. He drove blindly with tears streaming down his face. He turned off onto 40 from Asheville and headed towards Knoxville. Lightening crashed in the mountain passes lighting up the interior of the truck.

He had a vague plan to drive his truck off the interstate into the Pigeon River. Scott knew his bible. He knew the penalty was for what he was. It was unlikely that anyone would try to solve this problem for him. He was a mountain of a man and intimidating by his very size.

The route he was taking was toward Grassy Fork, where he had spent so many happy childhood summers with his mother and his large extended family of cousins. As he skidded around a particularly treacherous hairpin curve, light seemed to fill the cabin of the vehicle. Time seemed to stop. His ears were roaring.

He screeched to a halt in the middle of the strangely deserted freeway and stumbled out onto the middle of the road. Weeping he fell on his knees on the pavement.

"Why, God, why, why, why.....?" he wept.

Suddenly, his mind became quiet. He felt a voice speaking softly in his mind.

Go to the mountain, Scott. Go to the mountain. Give your life to Jesus.

He felt at peace suddenly. It was his epiphany. It was the story of his "saving".

Scott got back in his truck and headed toward the mountain. He knew just the one.

The rain had let up as he pulled into his aunt Tullie's driveway. He hadn't seen her since he was a little boy and had fallen into her outhouse. He banged on the door like a madman.

She peeked out cautiously through the screen door wearing a faded print house dress. Her jet black hair stood in sharp contrast to her weather worn face. Her eyes were wide and alarmed and she wondered if she needed the shotgun.

"Aunt Tullie!" Scott said in a rush, his face aglow, "It's me, Scottie...you know, little Scottie, from Pickens! Sarah's boy. I've come to give my life to Jesus!"

Tullie opened the door and embraced Scott. She squealed in excitement and happiness for him.

There was great celebration on the mountain that night. The night Scottie was saved.

And Scottie felt he'd finally come home.

And indeed he had. He moved there shortly after that so that he could feel the peace of the mountain all of the time.

But while Jesus had changed Scott in so many ways, he had left him the same in others. He was still the child that God had made.

4 Comments:

  1. Chris said...
    Rosie, do you know if Simone ever owned one of those '80s power suits with those big-ole shoulder pads?

    Btw, Simone could've used the wet suits for some other things like surfing and rafting. Has she done either of those activities?
    Pissed OFF Housewife said...
    Who the hell is Chris?

    And why do we all have a Friend Scott? It makes me miss Dean so much to read this. There's an ache in me that wants to take that gigantic man and rock him.

    I wonder if Friend Scott is really as beautiful as your words about him. I suspect he is.
    Rosie said...
    Hey Chris,

    I'm not sure about the power suit thing. I was out there in the 80's and stayed with her for a time. She always has an extensive wardrobe of designer labels. We were all wearing shoulder pads back then.

    We are not an athletically gifted family. Simone is primarily a dancer and the limit of her other activities include water skiing, scuba diving and horseback riding. The first time she went snow skiing she broke her leg.

    BBC...stay with it. It's a story I'm writing in 4 parts. It's just too long to do in one post. My topics often have to do with religion since its such an integral part of the Appalachian peoples.

    Housewife...LOL...Chris is my semi-famous sister's biggest fan. He drops by the blog to get snippets of harmless info about her. Mostly to do with scuba diving.

    Scottie is a sweetheart. To go through what he's going through at 38 is really difficult. He loves the way I write him and it is how I see him, but I don't think he sees himself that way. You are going to love where this story is going.
    Pissed OFF Housewife said...
    Read your email, it's a small world.

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