Are any of you still here? I am. I guess god thought I was of more use staying home than going home.
If I'm honest, I've had a long time fear of the rapture. When I was a kid, the pastor of my church got the inspired idea one Sunday to show a movie about the Rapture. From what I can tell from my limited research, it wasn't "Left Behind" but the premise was the same. I don't know exactly how old I was when I saw this but I distinctly remember a few scenes, all involving people going missing and those left behind looking for them - lost and scared. A particularly powerful one was of a child wandering the streets alone after her parent, or sibling, or nanny, or grandparent (I don't remember which) was taken as they were enjoying a Sunday stroll but she wasn't. Wow. Nothing like that to scare a kid into cleaning their room and not taking the lord's name in vain (The two commandments - child's interpretation). As an adult thinking about it, I kind wonder what kind of kid she was.
In defense of my parents (I feel the need to do this because if I were you I'd say "what were you're parents' thinking?!"), that I also remember a heated discussion on the way home from church that day in which my parents were, trying not to further traumatize my sister and me, clearly expressing disgust at what had just happened at the church. Our church. The place we went, as I was taught by my parents through their example (and a lot of verbal convincing), for the spiritual community and to practice love, caring, forgiveness and giving.
Yeah, ok. I didn't, in my adult and rational mind, think anything would happen yesterday. I have my own idea now of spirituality. Organized religion is not part of it, although, I must say, I find a lot of comfort in their rituals -- I happily join my mom at her church when I'm in the States and go to baptisms and masses here in Italy whenever I'm invited. And still, I found myself thinking about it.
As it turns out, if the Reverend Camping was right, the only worthy candidates for heaven were Augusto's strawberries.
Yesterday I passed by pal Augusto's to pick up some tomatoes and pepper plants for my orto. "Lina! Don't buy them! I throw away plants each year!". So I went by and he harvested some seedlings for me from a corner of his land. It is the "temporary" corner of his orto. You know, where stuff gets planted when it will get replanted or maybe just be there for a short time. There were also some strawberries in this little patch. Plants that were already full of fruit.
This morning Augusto stopped in front of my house while I was watering my new peppers. He called me over to the truck. "Lina, remember my strawberries? They were right next to the baby tomatoes and peppers I dug up for you? They're gone."
There was such a look of sadness on his face. At first I didn't understand. I mean, there were like 3 strawberry plants, each with like 6 fruit on them.
"What do you mean they are gone? An animal took them?"
"Yeah, Lina, an animal with two legs." And he wasn't talking about a chicken.
I still didn't totally understand. Why was he so distraught about 18 strawberries gone? I mean, come on, this guy produces food in quantity that could keep several third world countries alive.
"I had promised them to Camilla." Camilla is his granddaughter - the complete and totally love of his life. Ah, that's why he was so destroyed.
But I still didn't understand why someone would go to such trouble to get 18 strawberries. It doesn't make sense. These plants were not by the side of the road or anything. You had to know they were there and pass a Rottweiler to get them. Who would do that? I mean, it's a big risk and a lot of work for 2 strawberry shortcakes (individual size potions).
The only explanation... The strawberry rapture.
If a grandfather who is so distraught by renigging on a promise to his 4 year old granddaughter about some ripe fruit wasn't taken to heaven...well, the rest of us can just go on with our daily sinful lives for now.