Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lunch Time

They settled on McDonald’s for lunch. It was a far walk, but Kate didn’t mind and it gave them a chance to talk more.

“So, how long have you lived in Elko?” she asked him.

“All my life, actually. I was born in the old hospital that used to be near the fairgrounds,” he said.

“So you’re a native, then? Are your parents natives, too?”

“Kind of. My dad’s third generation but my mom moved here to go to Great Basin College,” he said.

“Ahh. So your parents met in college, then?” she guessed.

“No, they met while they were both working at the Elko Daily Press. Mom was an intern in journalism and Dad was a computer technician,” he said.

“Do they still work there?” Kate asked.

“Mom did until two years ago, but now she’s works at home. She’s a published author,” he said proudly, “and Dad runs his own computer repair and programming shop”.

Kate was impressed. She’d never known anyone who had published a book. “Wow, your parents sound really cool.”

“They are. How about your mom?” he asked.

“Oh, she works as an Administrative Assistant for Child and Family Services,” Kate said, casually.

“Well, that’s good. Does she like it there?” he asked.

“Yeah, she tells me she likes helping families and especially kids in need. She drives the kids around and helps them get to their appointments, takes them things, and stuff like that when she’s not working in the office,” Kate told him.

“That sounds interesting,” Kevin said.

“I guess so,” Kate replied. She didn’t think her mom’s job was nearly as interesting as owning your own business or writing books for a living.

“What about your dad?” Kevin asked.

“He’s dead,” Kate said, “But he was a geologist. He worked out at the mines. That’s why we moved here.”

Kevin nodded sympathetically, “I’m sorry for your loss. Did he die in the mines?”

“No, actually he died because of a drunken driver. I don’t understand why God let that guy live and my dad die. It doesn’t seem right,” Kate said bitterly.

“Maybe God left the drunk driver behind because He wanted to give that person more time to make something of his life, but your Dad had already made something of his life,” Kevin suggested gently.

“So God takes the good people and leaves the bad ones behind?” Kate asked, angry now.

“Not exactly. I don’t know, Kate. I do know God loves us all, and that includes both your dad and the drunk driver. He wouldn’t have taken your dad away if there wasn’t a good reason, and he wouldn’t have let the drunk driver live if there wasn’t an equally good reason,” Kevin answered her.

“But what about me, Kevin? What about my mom? Why did he have to take my dad and leave us alone? What kind of loving God would do that? I don’t understand,” Kate said, tears welling up.

“Hey, Kate,” Kevin said, putting his hands on her shoulders and turning her to face him, “Please don’t cry. I didn’t mean to upset you. I don’t have all the answers. I know there are answers, but I don’t have them. Do you want to talk about something else?”

Kate could hardly look at Kevin, she was so upset. “I just want him back, Kevin. I just want my dad back and nothing you say is ever going to make me feel any differently,” she spat out.

“Kate, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you,” Kevin said, his voice full of anxiety.

“How can you believe in a God that would do those kinds of things?” Kate asked accusingly.

“Because I know who He is, Kate. I know that He doesn’t just love me – He is the very definition of love, so it’s impossible for Him to do anything except love. I know God, and I know that He would never do anything or allow anything that wasn’t for the good of everyone,” Kevin answered.

His conviction on this matter was something Kate found infuriating, puzzling, and comforting all at the same time. It was comforting to think that God wasn’t doing this to her but was doing it to somehow help her. It was puzzling to her how he could really believe that, and it was infuriating because she didn’t want it to be comforting, she didn’t want to believe in God. Believing in God would mean accepting her Dad’s death as being part of a plan for good things, and that wasn’t something she was really ready to do.

Kate just shook her head. “God’s not real. He doesn’t exist. I don’t believe it. If He were real, He wouldn’t do this to me. If He really loved me, He wouldn’t hurt me.”

Kevin said nothing. He just looked at her. “He is real, Kate. He’s as real as I am, and He loves you. Surgeons hurt their patients all the time, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about them. It means they’re trying to save their lives or fix something that’s broken. I know God exists. I’ll prove it to you,” he said.

Kate’s eyes narrowed, “How are you going to do that?” This was something she hadn’t expected.

“I’m going to take you somewhere so you can find him for yourself. What are you doing at 7 pm tonight?” he asked.

“I don’t know, studying, I guess,” she said reluctantly.

“Will it be okay if I pick you up and take you somewhere? Do you think your Mom would mind?” he asked.

“I don’t think she would, how long would we be gone?” Kate asked, her curiosity overcoming her skepticism and anger.

“Just an hour, Kate. I promise you won’t have to do anything where we’re going, nobody’s going to expect anything of you or even talk to you if you don’t want them to. All you have to do is sit still for an hour. Can you do that?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she said, “but how’s that going to prove anything to me?”

“You’ll see when you get there,” he said. “Now, if we don’t hurry, we’re going to be awfully hungry because we aren’t going to have enough time to eat. You ready?”

“I’m ready,” she said. He stretched out a hand toward her, and she took it. He smiled at her and she could see a relief in his eyes that told her just how much it meant to him.

They walked in silence the rest of the way to McDonald’s. Everyone smiled and waved at Kevin as he walked in the door and he introduced her to a few more of his friends. Kate smiled politely and waved as she was introduced, not letting go of his other hand. She was glad he was there, she felt so nervous.

They stepped up to the counter and placed their orders, got their drinks and sat down to wait for the rest of their food to be ready. Kevin was the first to break the silence.

“What kind of movies do you usually like, Kate?” he asked, trying to keep to a neutral topic.

“Drama, Romance, Comedies, Historical stuff, Fantasy, and Sci Fi mostly,” she said, “As long as there’s a good story in there, I like almost anything. What about you?”

“I hate horror movies, and I’m not as fond of drama or romance. I like action movies, too,” he replied.

“Oh, no!” Kate said, faking a tone of despair, “I could never date a guy who doesn’t love horror movies! That’s it, we can never be together, Kevin. I’m sorry,” she finished, grinning at him.

“Ahh, not a big horror movie fan yourself?” he asked.

She wrinkled her nose, “Nope, not really. Never understood why on earth anyone would want to go see a movie that scared them. I don’t need that kind of help.”

Kevin chuckled, “Yeah, I kind of agree.”

The clerk called their order number and they got up to retrieve the bag with their food in it. They ate fries and talked about trivial matters all the way back to school.

“I’ll see you at 7?” Kevin asked as the bell was ringing.

“Unless I call you first. My mom may not like it because it’s a school night and she doesn’t know you,” Kate warned.

“I’ll take the chance,” Kevin said, smiling.

“Nobody’s going to try and convince me to join anything or do anything weird are they?” Kate asked.

“Nope, I promise. It’ll be a unique experience for you. I think you’ll really like it,” he said.

“I hope you don’t expect too much. I’m not likely to be convinced, you know. I don’t believe just anything somebody tells me,” Kate replied warningly.

“Kate, if you were that kind of girl you would not have been of any interest to me at all. I’m not interested in what’s in your blouse or your panties. I want your head and your heart, or nothing at all,” Kevin said reassuringly as he headed off for his class.

Kate’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. It wasn’t that she doubted him, it was that he was so blunt in articulating the point. She was glad to hear it, though. She knew not every guy felt the same way. The more she got to know Kevin, the more she realized he was definitely a one-of-a-kind original.

She didn’t have a lot of time to spend worrying about this evening because the rest of her class periods were busy with testing. Wednesday was also the day she had private lessons after school, so she didn’t even get home until 3:30. The house was empty when she finally got there.

She put her things away and went to sit outside under the apple tree. She told Bones all about her day, and her worries about this evening. She wasn’t sure why but somehow she felt better after this than she had before even though it felt silly to talk to someone she couldn’t see.

She had dinner waiting when her mom walked in the door. She let her mom finish eating and then asked for the permission she needed to go with Kevin. Her mom agreed, provided that she let her meet him at the door. Kate said that was fine with her.

Kevin arrived at 10 minutes till 7 to pick her up, which gave Kate’s mom plenty of time to quiz him about where he was going and when they would be back. She could hear her mom from the other room as she put her coat on and headed outside. Even though the temperatures had been a warm 70 degrees this afternoon, they were already dipping into the 30’s.

She headed out the door with Kevin and he led her to his family’s van. He helped her inside, then hopped into the seat beside her. His parents and siblings were in the van with him. She looked at him in surprise.

“It’s something my family does every week,” he answered her unspoken question, “I thought you’d like to come along and see for yourself.”

“Where are we going?” Kate asked.

“I told you we’d be going someplace special, Kate. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one. It’s something we Catholics call Eucharistic Adoration,” he answered.

“What’s Eucharistic Adoration?” she asked.

“It’s going and sitting at the feet of Jesus for an hour and listening to Him as he speaks to your heart,” Kevin answered.

“Isn’t Jesus dead?” Kate asked.

“No, Kate, He’s still very much alive. He did die, but God raised him from the dead after three days,” Kevin replied. “He’s not only alive, but He wants us to come visit him as often as possible.”

Kate thought right then that if she had a million years to understand, she never would. All she said was, “oh.” She didn’t see how this was going to do anything for her in terms of proving the existence of God or helping her to resolve her problems with Him, but for Kevin’s sake and so as not to make his family angry, she said nothing more.

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