Chapter Four: Martha Gibbs
Rays of the glorious sun streamed through the material curtains and awoke me from the slumber of the lazy. Stretching, I woke up and, immediately after washing and dressing, I started to work on my chores.
I wore a plain dress; shapeless in form, but it served its purpose. My apron ties dangled long and thin behind my back, threatening to trip me up at a moment’s notice. Adorning my feet were a soft form of fabric, protecting my feet, yet not spreading dirt around the house.
I didn’t dawdle when starting my chores – there was a lot to do and to prepare for. Being a strict Christian, my family were preparing for the Sabbath day tomorrow. As I thought about those who didn’t work in their families, those teenagers who expected their parents to do everything for them, yet expected independence and freedom as and when the demanded it, one of the seven deadly sins popped into my head… gluttony.
The only sound that filled my ears was the tweeting of the early birds perching on the branches outside of my window.
Silence echoed around the walls of the house. I mopped, wiped, cleaned, polished and tidied. Doing all that work took me from the time I woke (6:30 am) to around lunchtime. My mother and father had left the house earlier to go shopping, leaving me inside the old, draughty house to complete my chores.
When lunchtime finally came, I made myself a simple meal – just a jacket potato with tuna mayonnaise – and I set the table for one. My mother and father had made it clear that they would not be back in time for lunch, so instead they would visit my ailing grandmother and have lunch with her. I didn’t mind, in fact it happened quite often – too often to be a worry to me.
Sitting down at the table, I said grace and thanked the Lord for providing my meal and letting the farmers grow their crops so that I could eat. I tucked in and the food covering my plate was gone very quickly, almost in seconds.
After I’d finished my meal, I washed my plates and cleaned up after myself, making sure not to leave any mess behind. Once I’d done that, I started to prepare the meals for tomorrow. It was the Sabbath after all – we were forbidden to do any work since we were celebrating that God created the world in six days and used the seventh to rest. Over the heat in the kitchen I toiled, boiling a stew for dinner and making soup for lunch.
It was hard work and beads of sweat ran down my face as I laboured.
Eventually, all the work was done. I could relax and read the Bible until mother and father decided that it was time to visit the church to pray. We’d to visit the church at least once a day to pray. If God brought us into this world, we must show him constantly how much we appreciate anything that he gives us.
Anything that happens that may be bad is a consequence of a bad action. I was told that tsunamis, tornadoes and twisters were all sent by God to punish those who had sinned. God always tried to save everyone, even from hell. That wasn’t possible unless those people wanted to be saved. As God tries to save every single person, everyone should worship him and show how appreciative they are of him.
You’re rewarded by being able to live in heaven after death. This was the one reason I was unlike anyone I knew, other than my religion. I wasn’t afraid of death. Death just meant that I was one step closer to my creator, nothing more.
Okay, so I leave behind a lot of things here, but they’re all material possessions. In heaven, they’re worth nothing.
In school, I’m singled out. I’m not different in appearance, nor am I any different in personality. I look like any other regular teenager in my year – obviously there are differences, but I’m not singled out by looks. My personality is the same as many people – I’m lively, bubbly, hard working, diligent and loyal. Also, I never sin. To sin is to defy the word of God. I’m singled out by religion.
I take my religion seriously, while many others know barely anything about God, or the sins they’re committing. As a devout Christian, I know it is my duty to save the sinners.
Occasionally, I spend my Friday nights going around town, seeking out people who need to be saved. Some listen and find ways to save themselves, while others laugh and commit more acts of sin just to spite us. We don’t mind – not everyone understands that they need to be saved. They’ll know the price they’ve paid for it one day.
Reading the Bible, I come across the section that is the only part of the bible that slightly unnerves me.
‘I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and she was given a crown, and she rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and don’t damage the oil and the wine!"
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind her. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.’
I sit in my chair, wondering exactly what it means. Being someone who’s listened to all sides of the story and chosen of my own accord to become Christian, I know there will be many interpretations of the entire Bible.
Some will say that it is rubbish and they’re just adding another twist to the whole lie. Others believe it word for word. Personally, I believe that it is like a prophet. It is foreseeing the future. Let me explain:
Conquest, the first horseman, is the first step, if you like. It is what all humans are built with, sort of like pre – programming. The human race will always want more. They spend their lives all undisciplined. Discipline should always be taught and applied, especially in this format.
War, the second horseman, is the second step. It is what happens when humans realise they can’t have everything they want. Fights break out and because everyone is fighting, nobody can stop it and bring peace. Humans only have so much available knowledge and they want to be able to explain everything. Every disagreement will become a war eventually.
Famine, the third horseman, is the third step. It is what comes after war and is unstoppable. Humans can only then after all the war and hate realise that they shouldn’t have gone to war, because there are consequences for everything and although these will be by far the harshest, they won’t be the last people to suffer them. Many other generations before and after, because they can’t explain what is happening, can’t deal with the consequences.
Death, the fourth horseman, is the last step. It is what happens to humans after they discover and one they know that it is pointless living as they’re doomed to continue in the vicious circle of life. They die knowing other generations, previous and future, will suffer the same fate until enough people realise that it can’t be fully explained – and it probably never will be. There is a limit to the power and understanding of human knowledge and even right now boundaries are being pushed to accommodate the current times.
I only hope that as those people move on from this realm and into the next, they can pass on the wisdom that fighting will only lead to consequences that are more serious. Not everything can be explained or understood. That is the way it will always be.
Closing my Bible, I carefully put it back on my bookshelf. For a while, I sit and just think about how other people might view this. How they might interpret what they’ve been given, what they’d produce given half a chance. I know that many people would just laugh and ignore the whole idea, but I believe it is best not to do that. Those things that are being ignored will get worse. It seems like they’ll always need to get worse before they get better. When they get worse, more and more people pay attention, when in actual fact, if people had listened in the first place, the problem would be easier to solve.