The pistol trembled in the eyes of the associate pastor. He couldn’t blame the woman for wanting to kill him. He had even thought of suicide himself, but for a strange reason he found that he did not want to die today. As tears crawled down her cheeks he surveyed the room. There was a door to his right just on the other side of the desk, his only way to life. The only other exit was behind her, behind the gun. As he stared at the gun he noticed beyond Abigail the picture of Jesus praying beside his tomb. He was instantly filled with anger. Jesus was the person that had gotten him a gun pointed directly at his head. Jesus was who had brought him so much pain and trouble. As he stared at the picture Abigail then again asked, “Why?”
When Hayden was 31 years old he had been appointed to the position of associate pastor at Hope Community Church. He had been attending since he was a newborn, and when ever he became a subject over dinner, most would agree that Hayden Lawson was meant to be a preacher. Being well spoken, smart, and Bible savvy had always made him a favorite among the leaders of the church. Of course, like most well liked people, Hayden had his secrets. These weren’t really eye opening, mouth dropping secrets, but they were secrets all the same. Hayden had his doubts about God, and as an assistant pastor, doubts about God were not looked upon in a positive way.
At the age of 25, Hayden had met his soul mate, Claire. They married when he was 26, and had always been happy with one another. When he told her that he didn’t want to continue being a lawyer she supported him. When he said that kids were something he wanted, but not then, she supported him. When he had accepted the job as assistant pastor, she supported him. No matter what, Claire had been there. However, at the age of 32, Hayden lost Claire forever. They had left a church business meeting, and were making their way home discussing some of the future plans of the church.
“An interactive program for the kids would be great to have during the services,” said Claire.
“You really think so,” Hayden questioned, “I’m worried that the children will be too much to handle for just Ms. Spinter, I mean, she is 64 years old.”
“I know, but—”
A drunk driver, owning a red Ford F-150 had ran a red light and struck the Lawson’s car. Claire died instantly, her last thoughts on defending an elderly woman. This was the beginning to Hayden’s doubt.
Weeks, months, years went by, and Hayden continued to slip from his once strong beliefs in the church. How could God, the man he had always supported and praised, the man he had dedicated his life to, take away one of the few gems left in the world. Hayden began to read essays online and books about the existence of God, the existence of a higher being. He read essays on the origins of God, why God is impossible, and what the future is for the few god fearing people left in the world. With each essay he read, with every word he devoured, he slowly inched his way into being a hypocrite. His shell was the strong, obedient associate pastor of Hope Community Church. His true self, was what he began to believe, was what he thought about when ever he was not on stage—a man who doubted the existence of God.
With his doubt came the realization that, if there is no God, then why be good? He began to go out of his way to sneak into bars on Tuesdays. Soon after, visits were stretched to Wednesdays with a prostitute mixed in. He gambled on Thursdays, and on Fridays, he was back at church, ready to council couples in need, to show them how to use God to fix their problems. Often on Sundays, he would get on his knees at the alter, and ask God to forgive him, to forgive his doubts, and to forgive all of his sins. He would then ask, “God. Please. Please give me a sign; please show me that you are real. Please show that what I do for you is actually worth something, is actually something that needs to be done. Hayden had become two different people. One was the highly respected religious leader; the second was a sinful, doubtful man.
Abigail grew up in a trailer park. As a teenager, she had often been called white trash, dirty, or the poor girl. So when she stumbled into church one day, and heard about a man who accepts anyone, and loves everyone no matter who they were, she began to believe in God. She attended church every Sunday, and soon started to help out in the nursery. That was where she discovered how much she loved to work with children. It was helping in the nursery that made her realize if she were ever married, she would want lots of children. Luckily for Abigail, she met a gentleman who loved her as much as she loved him.
After dating each other for over a year, he proposed. They were married in the church that she loved dearly, and two months later she was pregnant. Throughout her pregnancy she prepared the baby’s room, bought clothes, and anticipated what it would be like to hold her child. When she finally went into labor, the baby was dead. It had choked on the umbilical cord within the last few days of her pregnancy. Abigail was devastated. However, after a year of on again off again depression, she was ready to try again. Two pregnancies later, and still no children, she told herself one more time. She and husband began to try for a child one last time. Months went by and she still was not pregnant. Finally after much encouragement from her friends, the couple went to a fertility doctor. After a few tests it was revealed that after the last miscarriage, Abigail’s body had stopped producing fertile eggs. Abigail left the office, drove home, and sat in her living room.
Five days went by, and she never moved. Her husband had tried everything, but she would not budge. By the fifth day, he would just bring her food, and then take away the half empty plate. From that point on, dinner was the only interactions the once happy couple had. Even after she began to shower again, they would only share dinner together, having entire conversations controlled by empty words. One night Abigail noticed a change. Her husband did not return home until long after dinner. When he did arrive home, he said, “Hi, sorry I’m late,” and then went to bed. Abigail watched him ascend up the stairs, and then fell back asleep on the couch. Although both had refused to accept it, their marriage was unofficially over. Abigail’s husband, like many others, began the classic affair with his secretary. He only came home for dinner once a week. Abigail never realized her husbands affair until the day she finally awoke from her trance of self pity only to realize what her life had become. This realization then set her back once again. Only this time she was angry. Angry at her husband, angry at herself, and angry at God and all those who supported him.
After an hour of kicking and throwing and screaming she found a pistol buried in her husbands dresser drawer. She stood there, and just stared at the gun. She began to cry, followed by screaming that slowly led back to viciously crying. She took the gun out of the drawer and sat on the bed, her bed, their bed. She turned and ran her hand across the top of the sheets. “Such good intentions,” she whispered, “such good intentions.”
An hour later she was out the door, and on her way to the church. The pistol was lying in the seat next to her. When she arrived at the church, she didn’t know what or why she had came here, but she knew this was where she needed to be. She sat in her car for what seemed like days, watching couples go in and out of the church. After sitting for three hours, a couple left the church and not another entered. She took the pistol, stared at it, and then tucked it carefully in her coat. She got out of the car, and began to walk towards the church.
Hayden heard a knocking on the side entrance to his office. “Come in,” he yelled.
Abigail opened the door and stepped inside. She stared at his face, his desk, and the Bible sitting on the corner.
“How are you today Abigail,” Hayden asked. He could tell something was wrong.
“Fine,” Abigail muttered, “I’m just confused about something.” Hayden stared at her with a slight fear. Had she discovered his double life? Was she about to reveal her findings?
“What,” he took a breath, “What can I clear up for you?”
“Why,” she started, “Why did God take away my BABIES,” she said starting in a whisper, and ending in a furious scream.
“Abigail please sit down, please. Is there anything I can get you? A drink, something to eat?”
“Would you like to sit down?”
“No,” she yelled, “I want you to tell me why I am not a mother!” As he gathered up his courage to tell her the same reason he had told many, he noticed her clutching her coat.
“Abigail, I know this will be hard to understand, but just listen to me. Sometimes God does things that we do not understand, but there is a reason. Although, what happened is very sad and upsetting, God has a good reason for what he did, a reason that will be better for you in the long run.”
“You’re telling me that God let me conceive four times, just so I could have a miscarriage, resulting in my husband having an affair? Is God’s purpose for me to be a nun, a spinster, a bitter old woman?”
“Calm dow—,” began Hayden
“Don’t tell me to calm down! Tell me how I can have faith in God after what he has done. How can I ever truly believe in a God that does such things. He has ruined my life. Tell me! Why should I!”
“You shouldn’t,” he yelled. Minutes passed and they just stared at each other. Abigail’s mouth had dropped open, and her mind was spinning. Hayden, in disbelief, was re-examining what he had said, hoping that it hadn’t happened. Hoping he had not revealed his true feelings.
“You stand up there every Sunday and nod your head to every thing the pastor says, as if you believe, and here, right now, you are telling me I shouldn’t believe, that I shouldn’t have faith, that all the years I spent in this church were a waste?”
“Yes,” he screamed, “yes!”
“You know the reason I wanted to have a child of my own was because of this church. I worked in the nursery every Sunday, and in there I discovered how innocent children were, and I knew how cruel they could become. There in that nursery I realized that I wanted lots of children, so I could raise them to be kind and compassionate to everyone. So I could raise them in the church,” she pulled out the gun and pointed it at Hayden’s head, “and for some unknown reason God did not want that!” Hayden could not speak. There was a gun pointed to his head, a situation he never thought he would have found himself in as an associate pastor.
“You don’t want to do this, Abigail. Please come to your senses.”
“Just think of how much pain you could have spared me, and probably others if you had just told me to leave, that God was not worth it,” Abigail whispered.
“I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I did believe, but after,” he paused, “but after he took Claire away I couldn’t.”
“And you still did nothing.”
“Can’t you understand,” he yelled.
The pistol trembled in the eyes of the associate pastor. He couldn’t blame the woman for wanting to kill him. He had even thought of suicide himself, but for a strange reason he found that he did not want to die today. As tears crawled down her cheeks he surveyed the room. There was a door to his right just on the other side of the desk, his only way to life. The only other exit was behind her, behind the gun. As he stared at the gun, he noticed beyond Abigail the picture of Jesus praying beside his tomb. He was instantly filled with anger. Jesus was the person that had gotten him a gun pointed directly at his head. Jesus was who had brought him so much pain and trouble. As he stared at the picture Abigail then again asked, “Why?”
“I don’t know.”
She stared at him with anger and hate, but she knew she could not kill anyone. Too much death had happened around her. She lowered the gun, gave one last look of hate, and opened the door. She stepped outside, turned around to close the door, and shot Hayden. She dropped the gun, and walked back to her car.
The associate pastor’s office was dead silent. The gun had been aimed directly at him, a sure kill. “She missed,” Hayden looked up through the ceiling, through the clouds, “she missed,” he repeated, “she missed.”