Mari’s Ring

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We bowed our heads in the silence following the video. In this moment, as music played at the Garden of Eden church, we were instructed to go to Jesus about our sins.

Repent.

It’s a word that means, “to change.” Mari is sitting one row behind me. I don’t know why I think of her just now. We’re supposed to be thinking about ourselves–what we can change about ourselves, how we sin, and how we do love our sin. But change brings her face to my mind; Matt’s, too.

She told me in the foyer how he makes efforts to see her on the weekends from the city. He has roses delivered regularly. A ring glitters on her left hand. She wasn’t showing it off though, like a normal person. When she did show it to people, a forced smile spread across her face, and uncertainty shined in her eyes.

People oo’d and aww’d. They took her left hand and turned it this way and that, the ring catching the light. I felt my face tense. Mari’s expression went from smiling to serious, and she turned away from me. That’s when the doors opened to the sanctuary. S.M. and I walked down the aisle and sat in the middle of the rows of chairs. That’s where Jesus found me contemplating someone else’s sin instead of my own.

I resist the urge to turn in my seat and study her face. I look down at my clenched hands. In the silence, I pray that Jesus turns my mind to me and Him. The music ends and the pastor takes the pulpit again, standing in his khaki’s and white shirt and black tie. I am convicted for my nosiness and my judgement on others.

It is her choice.

S.M. is opening his Bible. I lean against him and read over his shoulder. The Word has a way of cleaning out the muck inside of one’s self. So I let my thoughts get silenced by the preaching of the Word. It isn’t easy to repent.

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