Last Monday was the date of the Rapture and, as you can tell, the vast majority of us are still here.
We had been warned in advance by the most trusted sources: the pope, the bishop, the five o’clock news. Go to confession, they said. Reconcile your conflicts and repent for your mortal sins because Monday is the deadline for all spiritual redemption.
We did as we were told, and the lines extending out the door of every church in town almost immediately became a problem. Mothers were pushing and shoving to get their babies baptized; confessional booths were nearly broken into during particular strains of impatience. The waiting lines alone were dangerous places to be during the final days. Injury counts rose toward the heavens and fatalities sometimes exceeded five per parish. But come Monday, the only human missing was Tina Delabeck.
It actually took us till Tuesday to realize she was gone. Mrs. Delabeck didn’t jump to any conclusions when she found only her daughter’s pink cotton nightgown, which lay sandwiched between her bedsheets that morning like a popped balloon, and a pair of underwear as modest and white as Tina’s eternal soul.
Mr. and Mrs. Delabeck have since been torn between pride for their child’s upstanding holiness, and crippling terror regarding their imminent condemnation. They can’t find much reason to grieve the loss of their daughter as it’s so much more logical to grieve for themselves. But because good Christians don’t submit to self-pity, they’ve resorted to standing among the breakable blades of their uncut yard and staring at the sky for most of the day. They insist to spectators that Tina is putting in a good word for them, and when skeptics assert that “that would defeat the purpose of the Rapture,” they angrily storm back inside and remain there until the streets are empty once more.
The rest of us are struggling to understand what Tina did to be so exclusively worthy. She wasn’t enrolled in Sunday school and as far as we know, she only went to church on Christmas. In fact, she sparked multiple scandals by associating with questionable men around town against her parents’ warnings.
We’re left wondering what sort of god would choose to save only a girl like this – and, with more confusion than envy, what sort of rapture would deposit the mutilated remains of its only selection in the woods behind her house.