Ryan* and I started dating during my junior year of high school, when I was going through my Christian good-girl phase. I dutifully attended church lock-ins, Bible camps, and crushed on worship band boys. Ryan, who played guitar in a Christian band (sigh) and just so happened to be the son of my 6’5″ Pentecostal Pastor, was the one I chose. In addition to being a couple, we were best friends who were in choir and church drama team together. Ryan was absolutely hilarious, super tall like his dad, and best of all, my mom LOVED him. He really knew how to get old broads to swoon.
You see, my mom is one of those holiday-sweater-wearing, bible-study-leading, pot-luck-organizing super Christians. She dragged me to church every Sunday since I was five, until I was conditioned enough to go on my own. So, when I asked permission for Ryan to be my boyfriend, she was thrilled.
Little did she know, Ryan was a dirty, dirty boy.
Sure, he didn’t drink, curse, smoke, or stay out past curfew, but he was just as horny as any other teenage boy and had me convinced that Jesus didn’t care what we did sexually as long as we didn’t actually have sex.
So, pretty much from day one we were “parking” all over the city and fogging up the windows of his 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix every night of the week. Our favorite spots were as follows: the empty parking lot behind the hospital overlooking the ocean, the cemetery, the parking lot of the dermatologist’s office, and several different church parking lots, which I think he had some kind of fetish for. Nothing like getting a BJ in front of God’s house.
Whenever our parents were out for the night, we told them that we would be “studying together” and soon enough, our “study time” turned into a “study” of raunchy, animalistic foreplay, which usually ended with us scrambling to put clothes on just in time for the parents to walk through the door.
We had gone an entire year of dating without being caught, until one awful day in May.
Ryan and I decided to ditch our last class of the day and spend some quality time in his bed.
“What if your parents come home from the church?” I asked.
“They won’t. My mom is out of town and my dad said he was going to be home late,” he assured me.
“OK. Let’s do it!” I agreed.
We jumped into our cars and drove over to his house. Ryan ended up getting there before me and when I walked up to the house, the front door was open. I walked in, closed the door and locked it. I made my way to his bedroom.
I found Ryan sprawled on his bed wearing nothing but white boxers with hearts all over them. There were candles EVERYWHERE. Soft indie rock was playing on his stereo. It was so cliche I almost laughed .
One thing led to another and there I was, barely clothed and dry-humping to Death Cab For Cutie when all of a sudden we heard the front door open and his father lumbering toward Ryan’s room. We looked at each other and panicked. There was no time to put on clothes, so we got really Old Testament about it and hid.
I was huddled in his closet and Ryan was squished under the bed. I can only imagine what the Pastor must have thought when he saw the empty room with 100 candles burning and the soft emo rock playing. It couldn’t have been a more obvious crime scene. We were so busted.
“Emily. Ryan. Put your clothes on and meet me in the living room,” he boomed. We’re going to have a talk.”
He closed the door and walked away. Ryan and I slowly crawled out of our hiding places feeling a lot like Adam and Eve in the Garden, hiding from God. Feeling naked, dirty, and caught, we started pulling on our clothes, not looking or talking to each other.
Things got even more awkward in the living room. My pastor wanted me to tell him everything that we had done together and how far we had “slipped into sin”. Ryan and I ended up spilling the beans — bjs in parking lots, dry-humping and all — in quivering, scared, little voices.
When we were done we waited for him to tell us how we had earned ourselves a one-way ticket to Eternal Damnation.
After a long silence, he finally spoke. “Well, you guys shouldn’t be doing these kinds of things. Don’t worry Ryan, I wont tell your mom about this. We’ll just pretend this never happened. Emily, you better get yourself home. See you in church on Sunday.”
That’s it? That’s all you’re going to say? Where’s the fire and brimstone? Where’s the preaching? Where’s the Wrath of God?
I couldn’t believe that he was so cool and understanding, that I had emerged from my sin session unscathed. My Pastor didn’t even get angry. The next Sunday at church he even gave me a HUG!
What could have been a beyond-mortifying experience, was as tolerable as it could be. I think because my Pastor really understood that we’re all “horrible sinners” in one way or another, he acted with understanding and grace. I couldn’t have been caught with my pants down by a nicer Man-of-God. God bless him.
* Name has been changed.