The Matriarch

Samantha and her husband were on their way to Hawaii. They had looked forward to this trip all summer. The first week of January they had boarded the plane in Indianapolis, were scheduled to have a layover in Houston, and arrive in Honolulu late that afternoon. They had taken off from the Houston airport and were climbing when something went terribly wrong.

One moment the plane was crashing in a massive ball of flame, and the next she was here. She wondered what had happened to her husband. He had been sitting right beside her. She could vaguely remember seeing spirits, dressed in white, rise from the smoke and flames, and ascend toward Heaven.

Where she was now terrified her. It was dark, she was all alone and was burning in an invisible flame. All around her, she could hear the wailing of lost souls, and the stench was overpowering. Frightened, she called out to God, “What happened and why am I here? Did I miss the rapture?”

As she waited for an answer a voice spoke into her ear, “You’ve died and gone to Hell!”

Stunned at what she heard, she began to sob and wail.

“But why? I don’t understand,” she cried, “I spent all of my time at church. I did everything I wanted to do.”

She couldn’t understand why she was here. She tried to reason it out in her mind. It was hard to do because of how miserable she was.

“I sang solos all the time. I loved the comments and praise I would get. It made me feel good and important when anybody said anything. But it should be that way. After all, I was the best singer in church. I know I was.”

“I even sang in the choir. It was the only way I could sing solos. The director drove me crazy with her music choices. Who wants to sing praise and worship songs? I don’t,” she thought while gasping for any cool breeze there might be.

“They asked me if I would take charge of the food pantry. What a thankless job! I hated it but it did make me look good. That’s all that matters, anyway,” she scoffed, “but that shouldn’t have anything to do with why I’m here.”

Now I do admit I was a little nosy. I had to find out all of the juicy gossip and make sure I passed it on. I probably hurt somebody’s feelings, but hey, it was better than me getting hurt!”

And some of the clothing the congregation wore was disgusting. I always thought I looked my best when I wore halter tops and short skirts to church. I admit, every once in a while I wouldn’t wear a bra with a halter top. I wonder if that is why some of the men looked at me like they did. Oh, well, I don’t care. It was better than the below-the-knees stuff most of the women were wearing. No way would I wear that!”

“If I remember correctly I don’t think I ever tithed. That’s ok, let the other people do it. They have more money than I do.”

And the nerve of the pastor’s wife! Telling me that I should set a better example for the others. Me! Why, I am one of the matriarchs of this church. “I’ll show her! I’ll get even if it kills me!”

“I should have gone to the Bible studies but they were boring. I wonder if that’s why I’m here? Anyway, who cares about ancient history? I don’t. It’s a waste of time. And not only that, Sunday morning services are boring. I couldn’t wait for them to get over. After the choir sang, it was easy for me to sneak out the back door. Every time I stayed the pastor preached on something that bothered me. If I went to my normal seat and listened it seemed like he was always preaching to just me. I didn’t like it at all, and couldn’t wait until the service was over.”

The pastor had a one-track mind. He was always on this “Born Again Agenda.” Week in and week out, that’s all he talked about. Why would I want to do that? I’ve got everybody fooled. I’m having too much fun, maybe someday but not now.”

She remembered her pastor saying, “If the Rapture happens and you are still here, what will you do?” She had shrugged it off and had forgotten about it, and now it has happened and she was in Hell.

“But I still don’t understand why,” she thought, “I went to church. Wasn’t that enough?” she cried.

Suddenly before her, a figure materialized. He was tall, well-built, and incredibly handsome. He stood in front of her and gazed into her eyes. They were the most wicked, demonic eyes she had ever seen. He looked her over and began to laugh. Shrieks of hysterical laughter came from his mouth as he pointed his finger at her.

“Matriarch of the church! What a fool you are. Now you are a matriarch in Hell!” he shouted and disappeared.

In Hell she’ll stay for eternity, being constantly reminded of what she missed and should have been. As she burned in that invisible flame, she thought back to the day she died. A vision kept popping into her mind. She remembered seeing a cross pinned to the captain’s shirt pocket. She had wondered about it and shrugged it off. Little did she know was the fact that one of the spirits ascending to Heaven was his. The captain was a born-again Christian who was now enjoying eternity in Heaven.

The matriarch reaped what she had sown and was dismayed concerning her foolishness. She did and would do it every moment of every hour for eternity. Foolish she was and it had cost her. Oh!, how it had cost her!

February 18, 2021