On Monday afternoon Whisper was browsing on Harold’s computer when she found Harold’s Spotify playlists. She noticed that one of the playlists was titled as gospel. On Sunday evening Whisper located Harold’s iTunes audiobook downloads. She was cognizant of how many of Harold’s downloads were of different versions of the Bible.
Shortly after Harold returned with the bags of groceries that he had just purchased at Sobeys.
“Let me carry those bags in the house for you, Harold,” Whisper offered.
Whisper noticed how many pain medications Harold was prescribed when she discreetly went through Harold’s medicine bag.
“Why do you need to take so many pain pills, Harold? Whisper asked as a concerned expression crossed her face.
“For my arthritis, dear. I also suffer periodic bouts and flareups of fibromyalgia,” Harold answered.
“Have you ever considered managing your pain with medical marijuana? Whispered asked.
“I’ve thought about it. My sister, Jamie, has used cannabis for pain management for about two years now. She also has arthritis. I guess it runs in the family.”
“Has it helped her?” Whisper asked.
“It must. She keeps ordering it. Jamie even has a legal cannabis medical card that she obtained from her doctor,” Harold answered.
After Whisper carried Harold’s groceries out of the car and into the house she started placing them in Harold’s refrigerator.
“Hey Harold. Did you buy anything that you can actually cook? Whisper asked.
Harold laughed. “What would be the use? I can’t cook a thing.”
Harold’s grocery purchases consisted of pizza pops, yogurt, granola bars, block cheese, cereal and assorted other items that do not require actual culinary skills.
“I’ll teach you how to cook. I’ll start you off with easy things. We’ll start with the baby steps. In the meantime, I’ll do all the cooking for you for now,” Whisper explained.
“Sounds like a plan to me,” Harold responded.
“Let’s get back your pain management. I’ll start you off on one bowl of weed and we’re going to see how you respond,” Whisper said.
“Where are we going to get the marijuana?” Harold asked
“I have some in my backpack,” Whisper answered. Whisper reached into her paisley covered backpack and found the pocket that contained a plastic sandwich bag filled with pink bubba marijuana. She reached into another compartment in her backpack and pulled out a pipe with a pink and white swirly design. Whisper proceeded to place a tiny round screen in the bottom of the pipe and then loaded the bowl with a small amount of weed. Whisper passed the luminescent pot pipe to Harold along with her lighter that displayed a picture of a marijuana leaf.
“Just light up the pipe and take some small puffs. You don’t need to hold the smoke deep in your lungs to get the full effect,” Whisper instructed.
Harold complied and took a few hits off the pipe. Almost immediately he felt some positive sensations.
“I’ve got a question for you Harold. I want you to answer before you smoke anymore dope. I want you to be reasonably lucid and articulate when you respond to my question.”
“Now you got me curious. What’s your damn question anyway?” Harold asked now sitting near the front of his Lazy Boy chair.
“Do you believe in God, Harold?” Whisper asked.
“Why do you ask?” Harold reluctantly placed his pipe in a sudden ceramic ashtray.
“I’ve noticed all the Bible audiobooks you downloaded to your computer,” Whisper said as she took out a pack of Zigzag rolling papers and made a perfect joint. She seated herself comfortably on Harold’s couch, but positioned herself so that she could look directly into Harold’s eyes.
Harold slid back in his Lazy Boy chair. He let out a big sigh.
“You sure like to ask the heavy -duty questions, don’t you? “The simple answer is ‘Yes’. I have believed in God since I was a little child. My family didn’t go to church, but our public school teachers would read to us every morning from a book of Bible stories for children. The book contained modified, paraphrased accounts of famous Bible stories such as Noah and the ark and David and Goliath.
“As little children we lived near the Red River and hung out at the river bank. On a Friday or Saturday night we would often have a wiener roast and discuss the Bible stories that are teachers had read us during the past week. A recurring topic was the future of our own our eternal destinies. The kids in our little gang who gave their parents and teachers a lot of trouble surmised that their eternal fate was almost certainly to be tortured endlessly in hell. You also need to remember that in those days there was only one depiction of the abode of eternal damnation.”
“What was that representation?” Whisper asked.
“The fiery furnace. Your body would burn forever in a state of eternal torment. This, of course, had the predictable effect upon a child’s mind and emotions,” Harold answered.
“That sounds horrible, Harold. Were you given an alternative?” Whisper asked.
“Yes. If you were a model citizen and did everything your parents and teachers told you to do and didn’t say any bad swears, you’d likely end up in heaven with Jesus after you died,” Harold answered while looking longingly at the cannabis pipe sitting comfortably in the ceramic ashtray.
“When you were little boy did you believe this?” Whisper asked.
“Absolutely. Nobody told us anything different. Even if our parents didn’t attend church, they found this teaching to be an effective tool when it came to keeping their kids in line.”
“Now that you’re an adult you still don’t believe the same thing, do you, Harold?” Whisper asked as she reached over to pass the pipe to Harold.
“I still believe in God, but I absolutely think that I was taught the wrong message about God’s character,” Harold answered while gratefully taking the pipe from Whisper.
“So that means you’re still a believer? Whisper asked.
“With all my heart,” Harold responded, “Despite what some of my Christian brothers and sisters may think about my present spiritual condition.”
“Why in the world would your Christian friends doubt your sincerity?” Whisper asked.
Harold hesitated for a few seconds while he picked up Whisper’s marijuana lighter, lit up the bowl of cannabis and took three deep puffs off the swirly ceramic pipe.