Acid sparks burned the inside of my stomach as we filed onto the arena floor. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw a sea of people, packing the seats which rose up and into the sky above. I found my place and stood, shaking silently, waiting.
After months of practicing, the big Culture Club Performance had finally arrived. One of the Maori grandmothers had made us matching dresses of black material trimmed with strips of orange and white Maori print. Emiri had loaned me one of her real Maori bone necklaces, painted my chin and fixed white feathers into my hair. I felt exotic and alive.
Then the performance began. The rhythm of a hundred poi balls, moving in time with my own, resounded through the room, accompanied by the thunderous war cries of the Haka.
Ki te wiwi
Ki te wawa
Kia whakamau ai teina teina”
My body quivered with exertion as the floor shook beneath me. The atmosphere was electric. I couldn’t stop smiling. It was a glorious high note on which to end a difficult term.
Then it was time to go home. And when I did, my dis-fellowshipping came along with.
God had told Bishop Smith that I still was not forgiven. So he had transferred the overseeing of my repentance process to a Bishop in Missoula that I had never met. It had been almost six months since my court. I had met with Bishop Smith innumerable times since then to be monitored. As time wound on, I was getting a distinct impression that he was enjoying it.
That spark in my soul that Maya ignited had kindled a small blaze, which empowered me just enough to ask for release. I was denied. I asked again. And again. I asked Bishop Smith with increasing frequency when I would be released from probation, as I had done and was doing everything I could to make it right. He repeatedly replied that when it was time to release me he would know through inspiration. God would tell him when I had finished repenting and paying the debt for my sins. He would tell me when I was forgiven. It was the divine order.
I didn’t consider not continuing with my probation. The thought was far too wild to entertain. You would think that I would have been able to stand up for myself but it wasn’t so easy. For one, I wasn’t nearly that strong. For another, my conditioning was to the contrary. After all, this was a bishop and I was a woman.
In my world, men were in charge and you didn’t question that. Obviously, I did question that, however, my questions were constantly answered with the assurance that God had pre-determined our roles. It was God’s will. I could put together all the bulletin boards I wanted, but this was God’s predetermined plan for his children. I balked at it … but my balking didn’t make it untrue. I cannot emphasize this enough. I didn’t want it to be true, but there it was, staring back at me from every direction. It was an unmovable reality in my world.
I disagreed with things. I debated things. But I was always keenly, utterly aware that my opinion did not, could not, change things that were simply fact and reality. I could push back and I could protest, but this was the divine hierarchy determined by God and accepted by all.
If I wanted to break through the Berlin wall using my own skull, so be it.
So, here I was … in yet another office … in front of yet another strange, suited man determining my worth.
The new Bishop was fine, comparatively. He seemed kinder than Bishop Smith had been. Although, I had seen how kindness could turn on a dime.
So I continued to try. It was the only thing I could do.
This is the latest installment in my story. If you haven’t yet read the previous entries, click here to start at the beginning. Then continue to read each post in numerical order.