Though None Go With Me
Notes: I have been working on this for about two months. It's been a journey, and still I am not satisfied with this final draft. But I still feel like I should post this. I am asking that if you comment, to please, please give your most honest feedback. It may hurt, but it will build. I need advice on grammar, content, and mainly how to write more powerful short stories. I've put my heart and my soul into this story, and I have prayed and prayed on how to write this, because some parts were just - so - hard.
When I told my friend the title I had finally come up with - Though None Go With Me, she said that there already was a title like that. I was so upset, but I just wanted to affirm that I seriously did not know that, and I do not care, because this is the best title for this story.
This is ten pages, so I know it is long, but I did not want to break it up, because this is a longer short story. That may not be the wisest decision though, but....on with this story! -- Megan
Light streamed through the window and onto the dinner table. All was silent until Father looked up at me. “The Kopp left the canton yesterday night--they’ve turned into heretics.” He busied his eyes on spreading butter over his bread.
Mother and I just stared.
“I thought Peter Kopp knew where he stood,” said Father, shaking his head as a faraway look tinted his eyes. “Remember when we found out William had received adult baptism? And how none of us wanted to turn him in? That is, except Peter. And now, he’s against the very teachings of Zwingli’s of infant baptism?” With his knife, he stabbed the butter.
“Edward Mosser!” snapped Mother. “I took great pains to mold that butter to perfection!”
“The Anabaptists deliberately go against the Church to baptize themselves again! Their eternal security was already taken care of when they were baptized as infants!” He handed Mother the butter dish, and peered at her over his glasses. “Too bad Peter was a merchant in Zurich. With all these heretics holding meetings there--”
I interrupted, “But how’d you know that Peter became Anabaptist? Maybe—“
Mother wailed, “…What about his wife Sara—she can’t die!”
“ Our priest Johannes Fassbind told me that they forsook the Reformed Church. And he’s not one of those pastors that lie to scare you into obeying the Church. But when the soldiers came to their home, they had already escaped.”
Mother shook her head. “I hope the soldiers will find them soon and bring them back. Surely, they’ll recant when they see it’s better than dying.”
I glanced at Father and Mother. Do they truly know who’s right? Does the Bible really say that it is a sin to become re-baptized? I grit my teeth. If the Church would just let everyone read the Bible; the truth—oh, there’s no such thing as truth these days. Oh, I wish I could just know for sure!
Father broke into my thoughts. “Anna, can you help me clean the shop today?”
I stopped chewing. “But I thought I’m going to Zurich today.”
“You are? But I—” He shook his head. “No, I don’t want to you to go.”
“Why not?” Heat crept up my cheeks.
“It’s too dangerous. They have a lot of Anabaptists there, Anna.”
“But Glenda…she and I have to get fabric there.”
“Why can’t you get it from the peddler?”
“We can’t,” I exclaimed, ready to burst into tears. “We’ve been planning this for weeks. Pastor Johannes’s letting her go…he doesn’t have a problem.”
“Let her go,” Mother’s soothing voice was like a balm to the tension.
Father sighed. “Alright.”
I exhaled with relief. Sure, Anabaptists meet all the time in Zurich—but what am I going to do—actually go to one and then drown myself?
But Father wasn’t finished. “But be careful—just one word with the wrong person can get you into the Kyburg prison. I don’t want you to get back too late either. It may start questions.” Without another word, he stood up and slipped through the door, into his carpentry shop which adjoined with our home.
The sun’s rays pelted down my back as I hovered over the basket of trousers. I kept draping trousers upon the clothes line. It was August 21, 1526 in Luzern, Switzerland and what a gorgeous morning it was! Squinting up at the azure sky, the sun beamed at me, proclaiming, “I have risen! Higher than the mountains of Switzerland!” From here, I saw almost the entire canton of Luzern. Behind me, the cows and horses grazed on the grass. Down the hill and to the left, lived the Fassbind family—our priest. Ever since they had moved to the Luzern, his daughter Glenda and I became kindred spirits. We were both seventeen with the same emerald eyes and blond hair. I smiled. Glenda is so wonderful.
To the right, the domes of the city Zurich towered in the distance. In a few hours, we would be there. But first, Glenda would arrive very soon. My mind wandered. I wonder what they do in those Anabaptist meetings. Do they really read the Bible there? Suddenly I burst into anger.
How come only the priests know the Bible? I want to know! Not just trust sinful people all the time. I straightened abruptly. Would there be any Anabaptists meetings today in Zurich? Around me, the wind swirled, rippling my white handkerchief along with tiny curls of hair and my indigo dress. I tucked a long strand of hair behind my ear. Maybe I could see an Anabaptist meeting. Accidently, of course.
I gasped. What am I saying? It’s against the law! I glanced ahead at the tips of the Kyburg castle peeking out. I shuddered. Anabaptist prisoners are probably being tortured up there right now. Many don’t even call them heretics anymore. Now it’s Anabaptists. ‘Ana’ for again. My eyes lingered to the Fassbind’s cottage. What if Zwingli, the leader of the Reformed Church, is making a mistake? My breath stopped short. Stop it, Anna.
Hoof-beats flew up the hill. A girls’ solid white bonnet appeared, then wavy, waist-long, chestnut-tinted hair, then a jumper all flowery and yellow, and finally radiant and flushed cheeks. It was Glenda.
I sprinted to the field. Hoisting myself on top of my horse, I rode down the hill to join her. As we rode downhill, Glenda said, “First I need to go back to my cottage to get the slip of the address of the shop. I forgot it half-way up the hill, so I figured I’ll just get it with you.”
After a few minutes, her cottage came into our view.
It sounded like chaos. We stopped. A shrill woman’s voice wailed, “Not again! Please, sit down.” Through the window, we could see chairs
upturned and dangling their legs up. A man, holding a glass, was swerving left and right. Why, he’s drunk! Alarmed, I turned to Glenda—just in time to see her eyes mist. Both of us retreated back to the main road. We entered the small forest. She forced a smile. “Father gets like that sometimes…”
I nearly choked. “That was Pastor Johannes?” Anger swept my mind, sweeping away any respect I once had for him.
“Sad, isn’t it?” Her voice laced with sarcasm. “Great, now I won’t have the directions...”
“But I thought…never mind.”
“That, well, he was holy. In church he’s—“
Glenda snorted. “Holy?!” She shook her head, then changed subjects. “Did you hear about the Kopp family?”
I turned my head away. My eyes followed the trickling brook two feet away from me. “We were talking about them today.” I changed subjects. “The horse should drink from this brook since Zurich was still a few hours away."
Lifting our dress and throwing off our sandals, side by side we sat on the dirt and grass, letting our feet dangle like little girls into transparent azure water. We giggled and the magic of the sitting and acting care-free refreshed our memories. I recalled, “Remember when you came to my house and it was dark, but I still had to milk the cows? And I thought you were still talking to my mother inside when you sneaked behind me and gripped me hard on the shoulders?”
Glenda giggled. “You were so funny! Falling off the stool, screaming and running down your hill, when—when you…fell and tumbled over that rock screaming even louder!” Her eyes crinkled and she doubled over with laughter.
“I still can’t believe you did that!” I cupped water, splashing it on her face.
Her eyes widened. “Anna Mosser!”
I threw even more water, laughing. Bouncing up, we started soaking each other. “Stop it—we can’t arrive in Zurich like this!” Glenda’s face peppered with water droplets, and both of our hair was drenched. Big and little circles saturated her dress.
I froze. “We have to go. I’m not going to be able to get home before nine.” Father will never let me go to Zurich again. I raced to my horse.
Glenda’s father—our pastor’s voice ringed in my mind. Glenda tried to explain how frustrated her father grew. With the latest Anabaptist persecutions, especially when the Anabaptists sang as they were led to be burned…did not help. It only inspired more and more ot leave the church and become re-baptized.
Shortly before sunset, we entered the city of Zurich. Hundreds of visitors and shops surrounded us. Strong fumes of spice drifted in and out of our noses. Carts squeaked. Merchants shouted, “Best tomatoes, best price!” And ladies with bonnets and baskets explored the street. What if we get lost? I shouted, “There are too many shops!”
When Glenda was not looking, I quickly directed my horse to trot closer to hers. Just in case. I asked, “How are we going to find a store and buy and get home in time?”
She shrugged. “Why don’t you search for any interesting stores on the left and I’ll look on the right.”
Before long, I felt almost dizzy. Peeking into the store, noting the number of customers, as well as directing my horse was not easy. My eyes felt as if they would pop out. Surely, with myriad stores, at least one fabric store would be good!
After a few minutes, attempting to read signs and observed stores better, I moved closer and closer to the left. And I forgot all about staying near Glenda. Ten minutes passed. I snapped my head up.
Glenda had vanished.
I trembled. As swift as lightning, I jumped from my horse. I ducked and weaved through empty spaces. Seconds felt like hours as I hurried down the street. Glenda’s really gone. A few feet ahead, a woman exited a small newspaper shop. My thoughts raced. If I just ask her of a good fabric store and shop there, and go home.... I took a deep breath. “Excuse me! I’m a stranger here; do you possibly know any good fabric stores here in Zurich?”
The lady shook her head, pointed to the newspaper shop, and walked away.
Into the shop window I peered. No one stood in counter, but perhaps someone was printing in the back. Should I go inside? Would they know? I can’t go home empty-handed.
After tying my horse to a post, I put one foot into the shop. Then froze. Is someone staring at me? I glanced over my shoulder.
Across the street stood a man. His back stooped over, and white streaks speckled his hair. He was looking at me. I shivered. Was he there before?
I jerked open the door, and slipped inside. Except for the twinkling bells that whispered as I opened the door, there was no other sound. The counter reached from the right side of the wall and all the way to the left.
Behind the counter stood printing machines in rows. Strong fumes of fresh ink tickled my nose. A door behind the counter had opened a crack, throwing a glimpse of light into the shop.
My stomach knotted even tighter. Then my ears perked up. Someone talked inside the room. Oh, I’m not going to knock on that door. I’ll just go home. I grasped the doorknob. Then the door opened.
A young man and an older woman walked out. They halted. His brown eyes pierced. “What are you doing here?”
The woman patted his arm, shushing him. “She’s just a girl…it’s not like we locked the door.” She smiled, looking at me in the eye. “Did you want to order a newspaper?”
I shook my head, smiling. “I was just going to leave…”
She raised her eyebrows.
“Um, can I ask you—“
“Yes. It is.”
“You may come right in.” She motioned to the door. The young man waited for me to enter first, then slipped in after me.
I glanced back at the young man, who locked the door behind him. What is going on? My hands grew sweaty and my smile wavered.
A beige curtain split the room in half. Lifting the curtains, we all slipped into the small enclosure. What is—I better say something before… “Um, ma’am, I want—“
“…Yes, yes, of course! You can call me Sarah, and you can call him,” she nodded to the young man, “—Peter. You’re a little early…everyone will be coming soon.”
“Who’s coming? What’s this? I didn’t come here for this! I need to leave!”
They stared. Peter smoothed back his hair. “You mean, you’re not here for the…the meeting?”
A chill went up my spine. “What meeting?”
Peter and Sarah glanced at each other. “What else could you come for, young lady, if you did not want a newspaper subscription?”
Voices interrupted us. Peter raced to the door—but not before a worried glance at Sarah. He opened the door. Three woman, five men, and six young ladies entered. A girl, not any younger than me, shook my hand. “You can call me Lydia. Is this your first time here? I don’t remember seeing you before… What’s your name?”
Her bubbly voice continued. “I know what it’s like coming here for the first time. I don’t think you’ll regret…” She glanced around. “Wait, who did you come with?”
My mind whirled. But alas, a man, whom I guessed to be the leader of the meeting, tapped her on the shoulder. “Are you ready?”
She nodded yes. Before joining him, she squeezed my shoulder. “I’m so glad you’re here for my baptism.”
I stepped back. What! This was an Anabaptist meeting! I wanted to slap myself. Everyone truly believed I was one of them. I fidgeted, forcing myself to think. They haven’t started yet; maybe I can get out
now. I glanced behind my shoulder. Peter was leaning his body and both palms against the door. Would he let me out? None of the women and men seemed disturbed. They sat—some with sparkling eyes and others with bowed heads. How would I leave quietly enough without scaring all of them? Leaving right now would be less awkward than leaving in the middle of the service. Who knew how long the services were?
But if I stayed, I might discover what makes the Anabaptists so confident!
This rare chance--would I take it? But if I got caught, what would Father do? Peter had been his best friend. If Father could just turn around and hate Peter for becoming an Anabaptist, how much more would he do when he found out where I was?
I groaned inwardly. Why did Sarah keep interrupting me; why didn’t I speak when she invited me inside? My heart pulled and twisted into two directions. Did I want to be safe and perhaps lose this one chance to find out more about these Anabaptists? But what if this wasn’t the truth and the Church drowns me for doing this? How much was I willing to sacrifice so I could gain the truth? Suddenly I knew.
Then Peter dashed to us. “Who left their horse in front of the shop?”
I gulped. Heat swept all over my body. “I did.”
Gasps rippled in the room.
“I—I mean…that’s my horse. I didn’t come here for this meeting; I just wanted to ask if you knew any good fabric stores!”
Everyone glanced left and right. I looked at the young lady about to be baptized, Lydia, to Peter, and finally to Sarah.
Her face glowed red. “I—I’m so sorry…” Tears misted her eyes. “I didn’t do a good job with—I should have been more careful.” She braved a smile. "But we can pray for this young lady before she leaves, right—if leaving is her intention.”
I stood dumbfounded. “Why would you want to pray for me? By now all of you should be running and screaming! If I wanted to, I could turn all of you in!”
Lydia lifted her voice. “Anna, you can tell the entire world that we are meeting secretly here…but we are not afraid of death.”
Another voice joined her, quoting softly, “ ‘O death, where is thy sting?’ “
Lydia turned and smiled. “Yes. I am not scared to die for Jesus, and if I was imprisoned, by God’s grace, I would never recant. True faith endures even the most difficult times.” She held out her hand. “I guess you are wondering why I am willing to die because I am getting baptized. It’s because my infant baptism has been meaningless. I did not even know my own name; how could I have believed in Jesus? Yes, I may die, but I have decided to follow Jesus. I don’t think you stumbled in here for no reason. I think God led you here.”
I stood dumbfounded. Everyone, coming forward, circled around me. They rested their hands on my shoulders, then all of them bowed their heads.
“Our Father in heaven, thank you for bring this young lady here. Guide her path tonight to wher you lead her and give her peace and clear. I pray that she will love you with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”
We opened our eyes.
“Thank you,” I whispered, before slipping out the door. A gentle breeze brushed my face. The sky, already deepened into dark blue, spotted with pink outlined cirrus clouds. Scanning up and down the street for Glenda, disappointment filled my heart. The street was almost deserted, except for the few villagers traipsing the street. Even all the merchant’s carts vanished.
I slid onto my horse. I looked up. Goose bumps popped up my skin. There’s that same man that stood there before I went in! Just as I turned to get a better look, he shifted his gaze. It all happened so fast, I decided I had imagined it.
Heart thumping, I commanded my horse to trot. After fifteen minutes, one by one, the tall domes of Zurich disappeared. An hour passed—the sky darkened as the pink clouds floated away. And up ahead awaited the small forest. I let my horse slow down to a walk, shuddering for I could already feel those icy cold snakes sliding beneath us, hear the owls moaning. But that was not all. Thick and murky black awaited me, ready to dance at the thrill of engulfing me.
Now the forest hindered my path. I shivered, even though August air was in general, still fairly warm like summer. Leaning forward, I instructed my horse to gallop. And into the dark we entered. That is, at full speed. Skirt and hair flying, I raised my head to the sky (little that it was), and searched for the moon. There! Tonight it was full and never did I see such a bright moon. It leapt in and out of the towering pine trees. My body bounced up and down along my horse. Someone—either one mile or a thousand miles away, is looking at this same moon right now just like me.
Then I heard hoovebeats behind.
Guards! I gritted my teeth. My stomach leaned against my horse. Hurry, go faster!
I screamed, then froze. It was Glenda!
Glenda’s face was red. “I couldn’t find the store. I can’t believe it—this whole journey…all for nothing. What did you do after you lost me?” She did not wait for my reply. Her eyes looked mysterious. “Let’s stop here—“
“…no, Glenda! It’s already late, and I don’t know what time it is!”
“Oh…fine, but slow down your horse a bit! I have something…” She
lowered her voice. “I can’t tell you this after we head out of the woods…but I ended up getting a—a Bible.”
I stopped my horse. “But…how?”
Glenda glanced around, checking for anyone who might overhear her. But the only sounds in the forest were the quiet dripping and trickling of the brook, and the clip-clop of the horses. She summarized her story. When she mentioned passing by a newspaper shop, I glanced sharply at her. And as she continued, telling about this young man in that shop, my ears stopped listening. She met Peter and Sarah! But how come we didn’t see each other? Wait. They had…Bibles?
The flash of fear—alighting onto Glenda’s face, brought me back to listening to her. “You won’t…tell anyone about what I’ve got, right?” She quickly added, “You better not!”
Should I tell? An internal voice interjected, “What! You just went to an Anabaptist meeting, and you’re considering turning your friend in for just getting a Bible?”
But Glenda’s our pastor’s daughter—everyone looks up to them! No. I can never tell—Glenda’s my best friend. Everything will just get even worse if I do. But the Church tells us to give them any information we know. But who do I obey? Them or myself? Or God? But what does God say—oh, if I only had the Bible…no. The Bible isn’t for me, but the priests. But why?
“Will you tell?” Glenda was not smiling.
The end of the forest came closer and closer. “No."
“Then I’m giving this Bible to you.”
I gasped. “You can’t do that! Glenda!”
“You know it’s safer with you. I really can’t take it home.”
I licked my lips. Isn’t the Bible is what I wanted? But not like this! It’s wicked for me to read. But how is God’s Word evil for me to read?
“Can’t you just hide it somewhere?”
She shook her head.
I looked around me hopelessly. Again my eyes linked with the moon. It still shined so bright, a few tiny rays floated down in-between the cracks of the canopy of the trees. Perfectly round. I kept gazing at it. “Can’t you just… Why must I have it just because you got it?”
She shrank under my piercing gaze. “I just thought…I mean…maybe you doubted… I mean, you wanted to really know.” She snapped out of her mood, and tilted her chin high. “Fine. If you won’t take it…I’ll just burn it.”
No! It’s holy! “No!” I surprised myself with my outburst. “I’ll hide it in my home.”
An image of Father appeared before me. His face was red, and he held the Bible in his hand. I gulped as she slipped the Bible into my apron. It felt like lead, even though it was no smaller than my hand, and my blood, pumping faster and faster, ran chills all the way up my chest. Then we trotted out of the forest and into the moon’s bathing light.
Now we were out in the open.
I stroked my Bible tenderly. The moon’s bright light flooded into my room, letting me see the words clearly. As if God lit up the moon on purpose tonight. So many pages—where should I start? I decided to begin with the New Testament.
I read through Matthew and already the third chapter talked about baptism. “Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” I re-read it. They confessed their sins before they baptized. I blinked. They were not infants!
I kept reading, flipping random pages. My body began to ache. I positioned myself on my stomach, but then I got up. If someone discovered me…
Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” My mouth dropped open. What? Then my infant baptism has not saved me from hell? I swallowed. Does this mean that the Anabaptist are right? Furiously, I turned more pages. Then halted.
Did I dare? Just a few hours ago, I participated in an Anabaptist meeting. Now I have a Bible. What more could I do? I can’t keep living like this—torn between the Anabaptists and the Church. Only one of them is right. But which one? Am I going to live with fear or with confidence? Am I willing to know with all my heart Who I believe in? Even if I had to die for it? I straightened tall. “Oh God, surely you want me to know the truth. I’m going to open this Bible and the first verse I see…oh God, just tell me who is right.”
I shoved my finger through the closed pages. And opened my eyes.
It was Mark 16:16. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
My heart began pounding. God wanted me to believe and become baptized! The Anabaptists were right!
“No,” a voice snarled, “The Anabaptists are fools. Who wants to die so selflessly like them?” And what about Father? Just imagine how angry he would be. And your Mother?”
I looked down. For some reason, one particular verse stood out as if it were the only verse in the entire page. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. “ Don’t I need rest? From all this confusion.
“Talk sense. How can He give you rest?” The voice seethed, “Has He protected the Anabaptists?”
Oh God, I just want one thing. I want to see You, and be like You, so I can live for You. I am so full of sin. I see it now. Jesus really died for me, and I must be willing to die for Him too. Like the Anabaptists. Oh God, please forgive me for even going behind Father’s and Mother’s back. But thank you for tonight! I love you now, Jesus and that means that—I swallowed. That I will sacrifice even my life for you! Please let me get baptized. Amen.
But Jesus, how will I tell Father and Mother? How? What will they do? Still, the turmoil in my heart had vanished. As if it was never there. An overwhelming fountain of joy spilled out. And peace had calmed my soul. Amazing! I clasped my Bible. Just think of what joy in obeying God and becoming baptized will bring. Yes! I must get baptized.
I dropped into heavy slumber. And unconsciously let the Bible slip to the floor.
Mother and Father did not question my delay in arriving home. A few days passed, and joy overflowed. But I did not tell Father and Mother of my change.
Father and Mother would discuss how one by one, more people were becoming re-baptized, and my conscience would prick. It was torturous. Father would rage about how conceited the Anabaptists were to actually sing hymns before they were burned at the stake or becoming drowned.
As he would go on and on, my mind would whirl. Here I was, afraid to approach my parents when the Anabaptists were dying with love all the way to the end!
This secrecy could not go on forever. It was not God’s will. But how would I tell them? What would they do? What if they deserted me? Where would I go?
Every night before bed, I inched towards the window, letting the moon’s light bathe onto the pages of the Bible I read. I searched for answers. One night, I came upon this verse.
1 Peter 3:21… “and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.”
Oh, how could I become baptized without a clear conscience? If I was to be baptized, I could not keep my secret anymore. But where would I go if Father demanded I leave? A thought struck me like a lightning bolt. Back to Zurich! To Sarah and the Anabaptists! They would help and teach me.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Mother and Father must not hinder me from confessing myself. Wasn’t I a Christian; whose light must not be dimmed by a blanket? I decided that I must, no matter the consequences, confront Mother and Father tomorrow. And then, I would become baptized.
The following day, as we ate breakfast, we spotted a man walking up to our home.
It was Pastor Johannes.
Rarely did he visit us. Is he coming to… He knocked. Father opened and immediately Pastor Johannes asked to talk to Mother and Father alone. Mother rose, with apprehension in her eyes. They left me. Then I panicked. I am too late! Pastor Johannes has found out! I ran into my room. My stomach twisted. I gasped, crying, “Help me, Jesus!” between breaths. I sank down to my bed. Keep breathing, keep breathing.
I waited. Fifteen minutes passed. Then the door opened. Father’s figure loomed a giant shadow on the floor. He stared straight into my eyes. “How long were you in that shop in Zurich that night?”
I choose my words carefully, “What shop?”
He snapped, “Don’t pretend you don’t know! The newspaper shop! What were Anabaptists doing there?”
I rose. “Father…” my voice wavered. I swallowed, lifting my head. “I have something to tell you.” Please be patient, oh please.
His voice was cold. “What? Hurry up.”
“I’ve become a Christian.”
“And? Anna. You were a Christian from the moment you were baptized.”
“No, I mean, a true Christian. I want to get baptized, Father.” Fast tears were slipping down my cheeks.
Blood drained from his face.
“Oh please, Father—please just try to understand me.”
It was as if he had come alive again. “Understand you!” He exclaimed, his voice bellowing deep. “Anna! Everything I’ve taught you from a child to now. Your entire eternal security—your baptism as an infant…it secures you! Are you serious? You are not going to be baptized! What are you thinking?” he shouted. He fumbled for words. “Look. You went to Zurich, I trusted you, you came back, and now you tell me this. And you didn’t plan to tell me—Pastor Johannes had to!”
Mother interrupted, crying out, “How could you have done this?”
Father pointed his finger at me. He shrieked, “You are a disgrace to this family!”
My lips quivered. Oh God, help me.
His face was scarlet. He pronounced each word slowly. “‘He who dips shall be dipped’”.
I did not flinch.
He dug his hands into his hair, clenching his teeth. “I can’t believe this. Are you going to follow Peter Kopp?”
I took a deep breath, looking him in the eye. “I am going to follow Jesus.”
“That’s ridiculous. Becoming re-baptized is not, in any way, following Jesus!” He hesitated for a moment, then folded his arms. “Do you absolutely want to be re-baptized?”
“Then…out.” He pointed icily to the door.
I blinked, but did not flinch. I looked at Father, the door, and back again. Didn’t I expect this? “You—you mean…you’re not going to ask at least my decision or what happened in Zurich?”
“No. I don’t need to know. You have just shamed this family. And if this is the choice you are going to make…I’m sorry, but you might as well not live here.”
I nodded, and walked slowly to my room. I gathered another pair of clothes, my hairbrush, and the few coins I had—folding them into a bag with unsteady hands. I bent down, reaching underneath the bed. I dragged out my Bible. Stroking its smooth black cover gently, I left it on my bed. I could find another Bible in Zurich when I got there. Right now it needs to stay here. God can handle the rest.
I walked out of the room. Father and Mother were waiting. Mother had collapsed in her chair. “Good-bye Mother. Good-bye Father.”
They did not respond.
I opened the door and placed one foot out. Then it struck me.
I will never see Father and Mother again.
Dropping my bag to the floor, I turned around. I raced to Mother and hugged her. She could have been a statue. I embraced Father too.
And I left.
I hoisted myself on my horse. I rode down the hill, passing Glenda’s home. I rode on the road to Zurich. I sighed. Not in despair, but because I was leaving behind my parents. But I found the truth, hadn’t I? Now I had good conscience, and I could be baptized.
I could. Be. Baptized! Oh joy! This is what my soul desired. The Lord Jesus Christ is the truth. And He is leading me. So I must decide to follow Jesus. Though none go with me, still I will follow.