Parable of the Sower Critique: Chapter 8 (Final)

I wrote this story as a Sophomore at an SDA boarding Academy. Yes, I know it’s terrible.

This is the last chapter (finally)

I am soooo ready to be done with this. So ready that I started the next book before writing these posts. I figured we all deserved a break from end times stories.

I think I’m going to wait a long time to do another End Times novel. In fact, I kind of want to move on to something a bit more generally Christian rather than specifically Adventist. That’s not to say I won’t do any more Adventist books (I absolutely will) just that I’d like to switch it up a bit.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. We still have one more chapter of awfulness to plow through.

Holly is still in a prison cell with 8 people and one bed. Normally, she is told, people take turns sleeping on it. But, as Holly is pregnant, the girls insist she take it.

Holly tries to argue, but is shot down. She doesn’t protest much. She’s beginning to feel ill. I’m honestly surprised it took her this long to feel anything, given how much stress she is under.

The guards wake us all up the next morning right after I have closed my eyes. We are given no food, just march us off too an adjoining factory where they force us to work. I am so hungry I feel I’ll die right there, and the baby needs food too. I feel it kicking inside of me in protest.

What factory? Why? What–oh never mind.

Matt visits me every day to see if I’ve changed my mind. Sometimes, I want to give in to him so badly. Some of the girls in our cell have already given up and decided to renounce God, which always brought on crying and lamenting in the cell. Soon, Tori, and I are the only ones left.

I… don’t even know what to say about this. Ummm yeah no, I don’t know what to say about this.

But I pray for strength every time I feel that. I will not give in to Satan. I’ve tried him, and his way is no good. Its either jail now and heaven later, or heaven now and jail later. I’ve made my choice.

Teenage!me thought that reading the Satanic bible meant that she had tried every alternative to Christianity.

The seventh day soon approaches. It is the sabbath, but it is also the day that Matt will give up on me. Tori, and I join hands and pray earnestly that the Lord will give me strength to resist. I’m crying. I don’t think I can do this. I’m 8 months pregnant and I’m being forced to lift heavy boxes and I haven’t been fed for the last week except for lunch break and that’s not good for the baby. And I’ve been experiencing some pains in my stomach lately…. Could it be contractions? Am I beginning to go into the early stages of labor? Is it possible that all this physical work has brought on premature labor? My baby is going to be premature?

To be honest, with all the physical and emotional stress Holly is going through, I’m kind of surprised that hasn’t happened already.

Set that aside. Holly, here, is under duress. There is literally a gun to her head. She is starving sleep deprived and therefore not fully in control of her mental faculties.

Can Holly really be said to have a choice? If someone points a gun to your head and tells you to do something, most juries are going to agree that you do not have a choice, you have to do that thing.

The God of this story, of all end times stories, actually, is kind of an asshole.

Matt visits Holly, and he literally gets down on both knees and asks her to marry him. Teenage!me gets a bit of a pass for not knowing that men get down on one knee to propose marriage.

When Holly refuses, Matt starts crying. Holly feels terrible for making him cry, and we get this sexist bit of drivel.

He’s crying! See! He wouldn’t be crying If he didn’t mean it! I mean, come on Holly, do you know how hard it is for a guy to cry?

Then we get this godawful cringe inducing vomit worthy scene.

Jesus! Help me! Immediately I feel something. I can’t quite describe it, but it was like this…. This force surrounding me, telling me I was gonna be ok. Telling me that Jesus still loves me. Telling me that its gonna be over soon. I’m happy.

Matt isn’t. he can feel the force only he doesn’t feel its love. Only its perfection and holiness and his own shame and guilt. He is slumped against the wall, his eyes wide in fear and his mouth open to call for help, but no sound comes out.

The guard feels the same emotions Matt does. She throws herself face down to the ground, “No!” she screams, “No! please! Take me back! I’ll love you! Take me back!” she’s in tears.

And inside I feel such waves of compassion for her and Matt. And I can tell that God is feeling them too, because the force around me has a sadness that I can tell is mixed with love.

And then, as soon as it begins, its over. The Force leaves, and I feel energized. Everyone else feels depressed and depleted. The guard is still weeping her heart out. Matt is still staring in shock and shame. I quietly excuse myself from the room and return myself to my cell, which is locked, of course (duh, what was I thinking!) so I sit outside the door, feeling refreshed and loved.

It’s the presence of Jesus…. simultaneously terrifying and uplifting  people since the dawn of time.

A guard sees Holly outside her cell, and wonders why she’s too dumb to escape. Yeah, why doesn’t Holly try to escape? Teenage!me thought that would be some kind of sin? I guess?

Despite the fact that Matt says he’s giving up on her, he doesn’t. He keeps visiting Holly, trying to get her to change her mind. Holly keeps refusing.

Meanwhile, the contractions are getting closer and closer together. An hour, 30 minutes, 15 minutes, and then, one terrifying day; 10.

Teenage!me knew it could take a while for a woman’s first baby to come out. Teenage!me thought it took days, I guess? Is that ever true? Adult!me still hasn’t ever been pregnant.

Anyway, a girl named Casey–hang on, where did Casey come from? It’s been established that Tori was the only other girl in the cell with Holly.

Then in another paragraph, I change Casey to “Cassie.” This is the girl’s real name, and I wish I’d edited it before it got onto the blog. Whatever. Anyway, sticking Casey/Cassie in was important because teenage!me needed to include as many of her friends as possible, whether or not it made sense.

“What am I gonna do Case?!” I cry as I clutch my abdomen. “I mean, it doesn’t hurt, but…”

“It doesn’t?”

“No, why is it supposed to?”

“Yes.”

“Oh.”

“Is it bad that it doesn’t?”

“Might be.”

That scares me.

That night in my cell bed I was having them every 7 minutes, then 5.

“Tori, Cass, I think…. I think this baby is coming.”

Holly’s labor doesn’t hurt because Jesus is about to show up. That’s what teenage!me was thinking. At this exact moment, there’s a major earthquake. This is why earthquakes, the idea of them, scared me. Because if you felt one, that meant Jesus was coming. This is especially true if you don’t live in an area that usually gets earthquakes.

One by one the concrete slabs crumble and break down around us, but surprisingly, none of it lands on us. Everything is dark outside, as dark as the cell, so at first we see no thing, then, a rainbow, shining with glory from the throne of God, spanning the heavens and surrounding us with God’s love.

I forgot about that little black cloud about the size of a man’s fist. Maybe I thought it would take a while to break us out of jail, so we missed that part.

Holly again says that the baby is coming, and Casey/Cassie says, “well shove him back up there, Jesus is coming!”

Because that’s totally how babies work.

No, no it isn’t. Teenage!me knew that, which is why Holly doesn’t shove the baby “back up there.”

“I don’t think the baby cares!” I groan. This is not how I pictured meeting Jesus. I did not picture meeting him pregnant.

Sweety, if that baby’s coming, you won’t be pregnant when you meet him.

Technically.

Tori makes a really stupid comment on how the baby wants to come out of the womb because it knows that Jesus is coming. That’s…. exactly how babies’ minds work…

Suddenly, I notice that I am rising. We all are. Jesus himself comes over to me, and lies me down on a bed of air. He gently delivers the baby, cutting the umbilical cord. He cradles it gently in his arms as he sings to it a song of love. He is telling it that he loves it, and that it is perfect. Then, he hands me my brand new baby girl.

This…. doesn’t fit in with what Adventists believe will happen at the second coming. But Teenage!me didn’t really care. She came up with this idea all by herself, and thought it would work out great.

It’s…. not that bad…..

Jesus smiles, and says, “So, what are you going to name the first child ever to be born perfect?”

“The first one?”

He nods. I feel so special. I can’t believe that God turned something so awful into something so… good!

Because pregnancy is awful, I guess. Whatever. We’re almost done and I am beyond giving a fuck.

Jesus and Holly have a talk. It comes across like Jesus is saying he is the baby’s actual biological father… that’s not what teenage!me had in mind. Teenage!me was thinking of the verse, “I will be a father to the fatherless.” Because Matt, of course, is now in hell, so the baby is technically fatherless. But not with Jesus in the house!

Jesus then explains that Matt was part of the worst conspiracy theory ever.

“Well,” Jesus continues, “Matt was offered a huge sum of money from the government to wrench the child out of your arms.”

I’m stunned.

“Then he would have killed you.”

Except…. Holly was in jail… the government already had access to the baby. So, the government paid Matt huge sums of money to get them a child they already had.

Worst. Conspiracy. Ever.

On second thought, maybe this story does take place in the United States.

Jesus gently pulls me off to two people who I almost remember but have been transformed. They are wearing red on the hems of their robes

“Mom! Jaimie!”

This was my attempt at subtlety, and it works. For those of you who don’t know, Adventists believe that those who were martyrs will have white robes with red hems in heaven. The rest of us just get regular old white robes. By stating that mom and Jaimie have red hems on their robes, Teenage!me is telling the reader that mom and Jaimie were brutally murdered at some point after their arrest.

Everybody’s happy to be in heaven, to see each other, to gush over the baby… the first perfect child…. bla bla bla. Over the top, terrible writing. Teenage!me has to have Holly meet every single person in the entire story. It’s…. repetitive. could’ve been skipped. Where is the 8 year old child? I wish we could skip half Holly’s friends and meet her, just to reinforce the reassurance that little children with no control over what day their parents drag them to church on can still be saved.

All the angels are assembling. Everyone is coming together. Tori hands me back my baby, and we join them in singing their song: Holy Holy Holy, is the Lord almighty. The one who was, and is, and is to come.

That’s taken from the book of Revelation. All very Biblical. Yawn.

The story concludes with these paragraphs:

And so the end is here, and it turned out happier than I thought. For the longest time I was so sure I was going to hell because of all the things I was doing and that I could never pull out of it and come back to God.

But you know, your heart may be dry and crusty, or it may be moist and soft. But it doesn’t matter to God. He still loves you and he wants you to be with him, and no matter what the soil in your heart is like, Jesus can plant seeds of love, and watch them grow.

Wow, we’re finally done! That was a helluva ride.

So, was this any better than Now! by Merikay? No. It wasn’t edited nearly as well as Merikay’s story was. However, neither one of them are great literature. Both teenage!me and Teenage!Merikay do show talent. Sadly, it is not really a talent that will be nurtured by Adventism. I can’t speak for Merikay, butTeenage!me, at least, was really stunted as a writer by her Adventist education and the brainwashing. I am worried that my skills are still at the level they were at when I was a teenager.

Re-reading this, that is indeed a horrible thought.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s