My relationship with God had always been rocky. When I was in college, I would lie awake at nights worried that He didn’t approve of what or whom I had done that day. Then, the Ambien would kick in. When I woke up the next morning I would be haunted by a sense of vague reproach. If only I hadn’t suffered from ADD, I would have thought about it long enough to realize that my morning anxiety was connected to my nighttime ruminations about God. Instead, I walked around all morning thinking I had forgotten a really great idea for doing something new with my hair. That really bothered me because everyone wants to live up to their full potential.
After taking Beginning Psychology, I realized that my relationship with God was weirdly co-dependant. He pandered to my self-esteem issues with His “I love you no matter how bad you are” stuff, while I enabled His wild bipolar mood swings by turning a blind eye to the floods in Nicaragua and the Holocaust. Anyway, we drifted. It’s not like I rejected Him. I just felt like He wanted space. You know, totally needy constant praying had to stop – and it did after many a tearful confrontation too embarrassing to recount here. That’s when the crazy sex started. It was constant. First, I did it by teams. Then, by fraternities. Finally, I had to start going off campus just to see fresh faces.
One night I was with this guy who worked in a local restaurant called Juan. Juan climbed out of my futon in the morning started crying, “I feel so unclean. What we did was not good before God. I must shower and go to confession.”
“Confession?” I sat up and asked. “I didn’t know you were Catholic. What are you worried about what we did? You’re all going to Hell anyway.” As a Southern Baptist, I knew that we were the only ones with any real shot at heaven.
Juan ran out of my studio apartment, but then did something that guys never did. He actually called me. He said he had gone to his priest and that the priest had told Juan he had sinned but that he was forgiven. Apparently, Juan had to say some necklace prayer a million times or something. That seemed sort of annoying, but I guess sort of worth it for, like, eternal salvation or something. Anyway, just as I was girding myself for the “I can’t see you again” line, Juan told me very solemnly, “If were are going to continue seeing each other, I will have to go to confession several times a week. Do you have a pocket-planner?”
Just as I was getting jealous of him stumbling upon this way of sinning and totally getting away with it, I remembered that he was Catholic and going to Hell anyway. But what about me? As a Southern Baptist, I was not automatically going straight to Hell. Maybe I could work it so I could be routinely forgiven, too. That is what led me to Pastor Diller. He made me feel totally at ease. While he did have that self-satisfied patience of all clergy, he didn’t do any unctuous hand-wringing what I find really annoying. I was very level with him. Told him I didn’t want to go to Hell. That was sort of non-negotiable. But then I told him about how much unmarried sex I was having. I sort of fudged on the numbers by dropping a zero off the end. I was glad I did because he looked sort of shocked anyway.
Pastor Diller told me that I was sinning big-time. “Duh.” I told him, “I knew that, but I was really looking for, like, some sort of magic-wand confession thing.”
“We’re not Catholics,” he reproved. He said “Catholics” like he’s just eaten a spoonful of spoiled canned tuna.
“Yeah, I know, but didn’t we keep any of that cool forgiveness stuff?”
“Yes, but you have to mean it. And you can’t just go out and do the sin again,” he chided.
Well, that shot that down. I floated the idea of just carnally sinning until I got tired of it and knew I didn’t want to do it any more and THEN getting forgiven. He said that wouldn’t work, but, to be honest, I didn’t see the logic in his argument.
“Until you are married, you must stop having sex with men,” he said firmly as he glanced furtively at my knees. I immediately wished I’d worn a longer skirt. But the way he looked back at my legs made me realize the Pastor Diller hadn’t really minded my fashion decision.
Answering my quizzical look, he added, “There is no way around this.”
“Well, I suppose I could always have sex with women!” I joked.
“Yes,” he said evenly, running his hand languidly down his chest towards his lap, “there is always that.”
“But the Bible forbids homosexuality Pastor!” I blurted out, somewhat taken aback by his suggestion.
“Yes, it does,” he calmly responded. “But only between men. I invite you to search the Bible for where God said one single word about lesbianism. You see, the Lord doesn’t mind two healthy, nubile little lambs frolicking about.” Pastor Diller’s hands had dropped below his desk. He must have had a notepad in his lap because his hands appeared to be busy from what little I could see from my side of his desk. He was just like me; he wrote with his left hand.
“So God thinks two guys together is an abomination, but thinks two chicks together is cool?” I asked.
“Apparently,” Pastor responded, eyebrows raised somewhat conspiratorially.
“Well, so much for those feminists who think God is a woman. I mean, HELLO? Obviously, we are talking Typical Male here!”
“Yes, our Blessed Lord created the lovely lithe form of libidinous woman, with moist inviting thighs and soft heaving bosoms for the delight of her lucky husband. But until that time, there is nothing to say that a lovely lonely nymph can’t play with her buxom little friends.” By now, Pastor was writing very quickly. Must have been shorthand.
I had to admit that the idea of sex with no spiritual repercussions was appealing to me, and was precisely what I had been seeking when I came to Pastor Diller. But sex with a woman was foreign to me and not something I thought I would enjoy. When I told this to Pastor, a brief look of disappointment crossed his craggy face. I knew that I had let him down by not showing my willingness to please the Lord. “I guess I could try,” I offered cheerfully, “Debbie, who lives in my building, has hinted around that she wants me. But I still don’t know what I’d do.”
“It is probably best that someone who has your spiritual well being in mind, as well as a first hand knowledge of Biblical ins-and-outs, be there to assist. To make sure that giddy, but chaste, lesbian abandon doesn’t spill over into another, technically forbidden, type of carnal sin,” Pastor said, aglow with caring enthusiasm. He walked around his desk, keeping his crotch modestly covered with his hat. He placed his creased hand on me in a way that reminded me of how my dear father had touched me when I was a little girl. Before child services found out.
That very day, I told Juan that I could never have sex with him. In fact, I stopped having sex with all men. And since that time when Pastor Diller led me to the Lord, I have never sexually sinned before God. We came close one night, when Pastor had arranged to have me and five women from his Guatemalan Baptist Outreach Ministry to romp around naked on his bed, but Pastor disengaged before any sin occurred. I guess the lesson that I have learned in coming with God is that when the Lord closes a door (men), He opens more than a window (women). I am so grateful to the devotion to the Lord’s will showed by Pastor. I keep asking him what I can buy for him to thank him for leading me out of a life of sin. He always has his video camera running, so I asked if I could buy him some film. But he is so selfless, he always just says, “Dear, you have already done more than enough.”