Last week, we left off with Book!Merikay hearing about the new Sunday worship laws that are being put into place all over the country.
“Merikay, set the table.” Mother’s words brought me to the realization that this wasn’t a dream. I’d never dreamed of setting the table before. Who’d want to?
I like this. I really do. I am also going to point out that sometimes people dream some really odd stuff. I had a dream once where I cleaned the house. Dreams are funny like that.
We get some characterization about Beth, the little sister, that I really like. It’s actually too bad we don’t get to see more of her in the story, because her character is really well drawn here. If Real!Merikay had handed me this story to critique, I would say, “More Beth, please.”
Beth left the table many times. First for a glass of water, then for some salt, then for chocolate for her milk, and then to let the cat in the house. That was the way it went nearly every night. She would hop up and down from the table, getting a dozen and one things which she needed.
Finally, Book!Merikay decides to tell her family what she’s heard on the news that day. Her little brother’s like, “oh shit, really?” But other than that, nothing really happens.
“The time of the end is near,” Mother said, as she often did when something horrid had happened. “We can see it all around us.”
Adventists really do say that quite a bit. After every single tragedy. That major earthquake that just happened? Guarantee you pastors are giving sermons this Sabbath about how it’s a sign of Jesus’ soon return.
Book!Merikay tells us that she’d imagined this moment in Bible Doctrines class. She’s not the only one. Who among those of us who were raised Adventist haven’t thought about this at some point?
I remember my abstract plan seemed to be running to my best friend’s house. Her house was out in the country, and her dad knew a bit about off the grid living. He was a professional conspiracy theorist, and I figured he’d be a good person to go to in the end times because he knew how to hide.
But I never really made any concrete plans, and my plans for some reason never seemed to involve my parents, or any of my family members. I dunno, maybe I thought they would spontaneously combust?
If the end times ever do happen SDA style, I will be so screwed.
In any case, we are told that Merikay’s mother has lately been opposed to some of the religious things Merikay tells her, accusing her of being a fanatic. Book!Merikay tries to bring up Ellen White.
“No, what does Mrs. White say?” [mom] replied with a sigh of here-we-go-again.
Sounds about like how I’d respond.
This is pretty realistic. SDA teenagers, myself included, do have a tendency to get very fanatical about things. I could absolutely see a parent getting fed up with it all. But here I need to clarify I am talking about Book!Merikay and her Book!Mother rather than the real life people. I neither know nor care if this is how things actually played out in real life. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s move on.
Merikay tells her family that Ellen White says that when the Sunday Law decree goes out, they are to move out of the cities, because that means that the close of probation is coming very fast.
Pat is very interested in what Merikay has to say, and asks where they should go. Merikay says that they should go into “the country or wilderness somewhere.” Merikay’s mom asks where they are going to find, wilderness. Seriously? You guys live in Michigan. You don’t actually have to go that far to find woods.
Pat points out that they could go up north, and he’s right. Especially in the UP, there’s a lot of wilderness to get lost in.
Pat and I looked at each other. I never realized how interested he was in religious things. He had always seemed so careless and kidish. But in that brief glance, I could see that he was very interested.
I like this. I like that we get this characterization of Pat who is a child who realizes that he’s going to have to grow up and quickly, because there are some dark times ahead. Pat is going to become one of the main characters in the book, but despite this, we really don’t get a lot of characterization about him. Which is too bad, because I have a feeling that characterization is something that teenage Merikay has the potential to be good at. Perhaps if this book hadn’t been written in a weekend….
In any case, Book!Merikay’s parents aren’t too happy about their children wanting to go away and live in the wilderness. They like their lives, and they don’t particularly care to leave them.
If the end times ever actually happen SDA style, I wonder how many will feel this way?
Things are all wrong, I thought later as I lay on my bed. Nothing is happening like it’s supposed to. I didn’t even plan for Pat to get interested so soon. And mom… I didn’t even think the rest, for I knew now that she was not interested.
In some ways, this is a teenager’s worst fear. The fear that they or their loved ones are going to reject God in the time of trouble.
I think we’re going to stop there for now. Next week, we get to go to church with Book!Merikay and see how the pastor is going to react.