“Hey, Morgan,” she said with a smile, disentangling her hair. “What’s up? Why did you want to meet here?”
looked at Morgan and then stared
off into the park. An eternity of
silence passed between them before Elizabeth
sighed and admitted, “I wonder sometimes too.
My mom and I barely fought before I joined the church. Jacqueline never comes home anymore because
she can’t deal with our parents and siblings.
None of us kids have really gotten along before, but it’s just gotten
worse since I joined the Children.” And I’m worried about Derek, she
thought, but she kept that to herself.
The few times she’d seen him from a distance lately, he hadn’t looked
right—he’d looked frightened. Elizabeth
nodded, still trying to convince
herself. “If it was easy, everyone could
get into Heaven,” she repeated. Elizabeth
“I’d normally talk to Delia, but I knew I’d get yelled at,” Morgan offered.
“What is it?”
prompted, growing more worried. Elizabeth
“It’s just these rules…and attending Drighton next year…and I’ve been so hungry for the last few days since Sunday…” Morgan trailed off.
“It’s only Thursday. It’s bound to get easier,”
said, then paused. “The smaller portions and fasting, I mean,”
she clarified. Elizabeth
“I know. It’s just…am I…are we…doing the right thing? Joining the Children? Was that a bad choice?”
“My parents and I fight all the time now too. And I know they’re outsiders and all that, like Pastor Simon says, but it just feels weird not getting along with them. We used to be so close.” Morgan looked at her hands, and
could swear that
she saw tears glistening in her friend’s eyes. Elizabeth
Elizabeth reached over and squeezed Morgan’s hand. “But think of eternity. Is it worth it to go through all this hell now to be guaranteed eternal glory in Heaven after we die?”
Morgan turned her sad gaze to
. “I guess that makes sense. If it was easy, everyone could get into
Heaven, right?” Elizabeth
“I think I like the Children, though,” Morgan offered. “They’re nice…they make me feel special. And the more I read about Drighton University, the more excited I am to go there. It’s an amazing school, regardless of its proximity to the Children. And, well, I mean, some of my best friends are in the Children. I consider you my best friend…and if it weren’t for the church, we never would have met.”
“I really love it too. Most of the time, Sandra and I get along great. And I’ve only grown closer to Jacqueline.”
“So I guess this is a good thing.”
“The good outnumbers the bad. It’s good,”
reasoned. “So all this stuff we’re being put through…” Elizabeth
“It’s not a big deal,” Morgan finished.
“It’s not a big deal…we both love it.”
The two girls looked at each other for a moment, before they each pulled out their Bibles to do some studying. Sandra and Delia will be proud, Elizabeth thought as she flipped through the pages to her bookmark. But she couldn’t get rid of the nagging feeling in her stomach that maybe some of the things her family was saying was right after all.