Lisa Bynes put the last of the care packages into her car outside the warehouse.
It had been a very quiet past few weeks, and things didn’t look like they would let up. She was glad that her church had gotten a food bank ready as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant restrictions came up, but sometimes she wondered if this was all worth it. No one on the Welfare Committee had shown up all day and now she was the only one here to make the deliveries to the homeless. And then there was still going to be a Last Supper re-enactment on the church Zoom and she had to be online for it.
It felt wrong. It felt unfair. Times like these made her wonder what she was even doing here or why she even bothered. She just wanted to get back home to her daughter, Kelly.
She turned back into the compound to lock up the storehouse for the day. What an Easter this would turn out to be. No church services except those online, no songs in the streets, no creative drama presentations for the season, no Easter egg hunts (or maybe that one wasn’t so bad). The whole world had paused and, as much as she tried to encourage herself that there was purpose to all of this, it was difficult to remember all the time.
The door of the warehouse burst open and a woman staggered out and fell to the floor.
Lisa started at that. She instinctively reached into her bag for the mace spray, but she couldn’t find it in the midst of the hand sanitizers her bag was stocked up on.
Lord, please don’t let these be one of those looters…
The woman looked dishevelled, but she was laughing maniacally. Probably on drugs. But when she stared up at her, recognition dawned.
What in the world? “Eva?” What was her sister doing there?
“Lisa?” Eva’s eyes widened. “LISA!” She hurried towards her.
Now Lisa had been maintaining social distancing measures all this time so her first instinct was to take a step back. But her little sister looked like she had been through a lot, and she didn’t seem to care. She embraced her and Lisa put her arms around her slowly.
“What’re you doing here?”
Eva seemed more excited than she had ever seemed. “What am I doing here? What’re you doing here?”
Lisa gave her a good look up and down. “Are you OK? How did you get here?”
Eva pointed inside. “I’ve been in there for hours. It feels like a day already.” She grabbed her hands. “Oh, Lisa, you wouldn’t believe all that happened to me in there. Oh my, you’ve got to meet him!”
“I’ll bet.” She sauntered into the warehouse. Oh Lord, I pray my sister’s not on drugs. “How did you get in here? Who else is here?”
But when Eva followed her in she looked surprised. She looked over the stacks of bags with questions on her face. “We were … just here.”
Lisa squinted at her sister’s eyes. “Who else was here?”
Eva looked genuinely worried. “Andy. I mean … he wasn’t really Andy. Andy wasn’t Andy at all. You see—“
“Eva, I’m going to ask this once and you have to be honest with me. What are you on?”
But Eva’s eyes did not look high. If anything she looked concerned. “I was just here. There was a table over there, a-and a window there…” She walked into the room. As long as Lisa could remember this had always been an enclosure. No windows whatsoever. “And there was a hall beyond that wall. Lisa, you’ve gotta believe me.” She rushed to the back wall and knocked on it. “I’m not lying. It doesn’t look like it, but I just came out of this place.”
Lisa measured her words carefully as she approached her. On one hand she was tired and wanted to get home, but this was her little sister. And no matter how stuck-up Eva had been all this time she was really worried for her. “Eva, I’ve been waiting for my church members in this room for hours. There’s been nobody here but me.”
“Oh my…” Eva sank to her knees in genuine wonder and Lisa didn’t know if she should be worried. “I mean I can understand He could do this but…“
“Who could do this?” She stooped beside her.
Eva turned to her, excitement in her eyes. “God,” she said.
Now Lisa had been used to the cynical comments Eva had been making about God all these years so the sincerity of her words now felt weird.
“God?” Lisa didn’t know what to make of this. It was one thing if a stranger gave a testimony about a supernatural miracle, but this was Eva. The Eva she had known all her life.
Eva looked over her shoulder. “See, I don’t know how this works, but you know what happened, right? It was in the news. The thing with the werewolves on campus? It was all my fault.”
Now Lisa was convinced she was on drugs. “Werewolves?”
Eva nodded frantically. “I was doing this experiment a-and it blew in my face. I didn’t know it would do that—”
“And you saw werewolves?”
Eva nodded. “Why, yes! I even became one.”
Lisa put a hand on her shoulder. “Let’s take you home, OK? You must be coming down with something terrible.”
And so as she helped her sister towards the car, wondering what to do with her, Eva launched into the most bizarre story she had ever heard. It was full of monsters and lab mistakes, a pandemic, and the weirdest interrogation she could have ever imagined. She was praying under her breath wondering what to say when it was over.
But as Eva continued, the core of the story began to look familiar. The part about Andy and the things he did, and the things he said. From disbelief Lisa was slowly coming to understand that her sister had truly experienced something. Was it real? Was it all in her head? This couldn’t be the Eva she had known. This could not be really happening.
But then there was so much more in what she was saying. Lisa parked the car along the sidewalk and placed her head on the steering wheel.
“Eva, there were no werewolves,” Lisa finally said. “The things you said never happened.”
Eva seemed genuinely confused. “What do you mean—“
“There’s a pandemic out there, alright, but it’s not the one you experienced.”
“Yes, he did say there was something worse.”
Lisa shook her head. Could it really be? “The coronavirus is out there, but it’s not what he was talking about either.”
Eva seemed to be the only person on Earth that did not know what she was talking about. The confusion never left her face. “I remember that. I remember everything. But, it feels like a distant memory. Like … it wasn’t even an issue where I’m coming from.” She placed a hand on her head. “What is going on? Where was I? Is this real?”
Lisa didn’t know what to do with her. How long had her sister been cut off from the world? “Eva, are you messing with me? Because if this is a joke you have to stop. Now.”
“I wouldn’t mess with you. I would never do that!” Her eyes lit up with an idea and she reached into her pocket for her phone. She searched through her news feeds frantically and couldn’t find what she was looking for. “I don’t believe it.”
Lisa ran a hand through her hair. “You and me both.”
“Andy’s number’s not on my phone. I can’t find our emails either.”
Lisa couldn’t believe she was going with this. “Maybe there never was an Andy,” she muttered.
“Lisa I’m serious!”
“What do you want me to say? That you’ve had a vision or something? So that you can make fun of me again?”
Eva shook her head. “Is that what you think? That I had a vision?”
Lisa clenched her fists. “I don’t believe this. How did you get into the warehouse of all places? It doesn’t make sense!”
“I don’t know! Maybe that was a miracle too?”
Lisa shook her head. Her heart was burning with an idea, but she wouldn’t embrace it. She just couldn’t.
“If God could do anything,” Eva said. “Would it be impossible for Him to do that? I mean, between us both, you’re the God-expert. Does He do stuff like this?”
“But why? Why you? No offense.”
Eva pursed her lips. “Maybe He did that for you?”
Lisa thought about that for a moment. Before she knew it a chuckle escaped her lips. For me? The chuckles kept coming until she found herself laughing. For me?! And then the laugh just wouldn’t stop. She pounded on the steering wheel despite herself. She shut her eyes and kept on slapping her knee at the incredulity of it all. A tear ran down her cheek. And the weird thing about it was that it felt refreshing.
She exhaled and set her hands on the dashboard. She could feel Eva’s confused gaze all over her.
Lisa shook her head. “I needed that.” She couldn’t believe it, but it was true. “All this time I thought I was alone. But God was there. I felt I was wasting my time, but He was there. Working on you, but He chose where I was?” She kept shaking her head. “It’s incredible.” She wiped a tear from her eye. “You have no idea what that means to me. It’s just like Him to do something like this.”
Eva had been smiling shyly. She probably didn’t get the depth of what Lisa was feeling. It was like a love letter to her, a personal one signed by her Heavenly Father. Thank you.
“So this virus is worse than we thought, but you say it’s not what he was talking about?” Eva was now staring out at the empty street.
Lisa was still taken by it all, but she shook her head. “It’s not. If we’re right, he’s probably talking about sin.”
Eva arched a brow. “Sin? Like lying and cheating and stuff? You’re not serious, are you?”
“He is. All sin is worse than any virus. And we all got it. Everyone.”
Eva seemed to be getting it now. “And He is the cure?”
Lisa nodded. “He is.”
“But did I really have to … you know?”
“Eat his body?” Lisa had to admit, that sounded very weird. But then the concept of Communion had always been a symbol to her. To imagine it now brought to mind just how Jesus’ disciples must have felt when He talked about it. But if this what got through to her sister, then it was worth it.
And then she realised what day it was and she couldn’t wipe the grin off her face. “You just wait ‘til we do Communion at home. You’ll get it. It’s just like Him to do that. He loved parables when He walked the Earth.”
Lisa nodded. “Jesus.” There was so much she would still tell her.
But all the way she was basking in the fact that God had not left her. This was all worth it. And that’s what made all of this, with all its pain and uncertainty, beautiful.
She had her own questions too, but she had hope, and that’s what made it all beautiful.
Because He is here.
He makes it beautiful.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If you eat this bread, you will live forever.
The bread that I will give you is my flesh, which I give so that the world may live.
Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them.
Jesus in John 6:51,56
For more details, check out some of my thoughts in MY CURIOUS CASE