23 May 2011

speaking of the rapture

So you weren't raptured.

And I wasn't raptured.

Since we're still here, I thought I'd share a story. It's about me freaking out about the rapture as a small child.

Now, you may be thinking: Kamiah, what did you know of the rapture as an 8-year-old?

Oh, I knew plenty.

I knew it would involve horses, most likely giant horses, and I was—and still am—scared of regular-sized horses.

I knew it would involve fire, and unless there were smores or hot dogs involved, I wasn't so keen on fire, and I was pretty sure that God's plan for the rapture did not involve time for smores. This wasn't summer camp, after all.

I knew it would involve horrible weather, and as a Midwesterner, the worst weather I could think of was a tornado. I had never actually experienced a tornado, although I had seen The Wizard of Oz a lot and was, therefore, scared of tornadoes. And of living in black and white, but that's another story.

{As a sidenote, I was also concerned about the Lollipop Guild. Their little outfits made them look like children and yet they were clearly grown up. Something was very, very wrong in Oz, and I wondered if I, as a person destined for shortness, would end up like the Lollipop Guild.}

Finally, I knew that the rapture would start with a rushing wind.

I don't know where I got this last bit of information, but you can see from all my snatches of information that I was just informed enough to be dangerous.

I was a half-informed child with an overactive imagination, and I was living a relatively sedate life in Iowa: I was ready for some action on a heavenly scale.

And for a kid raised in the Pentecostal church, "action on a heavenly scale" meant a few things:

  • a revival, preferably one involving a tent, although I never actually attended one of those
  • winning Bible quiz and most definitely beating my sister at said Bible quiz
  • seeing someone get slain in the Spirit, although let's face it, that happened pretty much every week

Or you know, if none of those things happened:
  • the Second Coming of Christ

As an 8-year-old, I realized I should be ready for the Second Coming, and my action plan was to ask Jesus into my heart every week. Just to be safe. Let him know that he's really, really welcome. No, really, please move in and make yourself at home in my heart Jesus. Do whatever you need to do, but please don't leave me behind.

I should admit that I was, in general, a kid of action plans. I also had plans for things such as my house catching on fire or a tornado coming up the Mississippi.

In the event of the fire, I would grab my porcelain dolls and my Bible—bt-dubs, Jesus, please come into my heart—then run into my sister's room and we'd exit together through her window.

I don't know why I was so caught up in this idea of a tornado coming up the Mississippi {Why not across the corn fields? Why just up the river?}, but in my little overactive imagination, it was one of the most terrifying images I could conjure. I saw it all so clearly: there I was, playing in the backyard on a sunny Iowa day—our house overlooked the Mississippi—and then boom, the sky turns a dark green and a tornado the size of Cincinnati starts sucking up the Mississippi.

My plan in that scenario was to, if there was time, grab my porcelain dolls and my Bible before going to the basement. {I debated leaving my dolls in the basement during tornado season.} As for my sister—I was so concerned for her in the fire scenario—a tornado did not involve enough time to make sure she was all right. I would need to holler for her and then trust she'd be okay.

But back to the rapture, which did not happen when I was a small child, nor did it happen on Saturday, as that preacher man predicted.

I was very much fixated on this rushing wind preceding the rapture idea, and here is the crux of me spending a stretch of time very scared of the rapture.

Burlington, my hometown, is a train town. {Trust me, this is related.} It's a train hub—hence how there's a train line named, partially, after my town. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe line, and even now when I see trains with the BNSF logo, I feel like they're a bit of home, like they know something of what it was like to grow up there, even though I know that's ridiculous.

You may not know this, but in a train hub town, there's a lot of switching of trains and re-coupling of cars and whatnot. And if you didn't know that fact about train hub towns, you certainly wouldn't know that when very long trains stop, it sends this boom-boom-boom echoing cascade as the cars slow down, and that that echoing cascade sounds exactly like rushing wind.

As a small child, I would wake up to this train noise, this noise that should've been a normal part of my everyday, and I would think: Oh dear Jesus, here you come.

And then I'd hold my breath—as I invited him into my heart one more time—and wait to be raptured. Or left behind.

Either way, I was scared.

But it was just the train. It was always just the train.

And that is how I prepared for and feared the rapture as a small child.

The End {of post-rapture prediction story time}

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