It is the first Sunday of the month. The church is filled to capacity. Everyone is attentive to the words Reverend Watkins is delivering to them and filled with the spirit.
“Members of the church, would you please turn to Isaiah forty-first chapter, tenth verse? It reads: ‘I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’ Listen to what this scripture says and think about what it means to you.”
As Reverend Watkins gives his sermon, there is another conversation going on in the back of the room.
“Iris, I need a drink of water,” Little Jasmine says to her older sister.
“You’re gonna have to wait til after church, Jasmine,” her sister whispers to her.
“I can’t. My mouth is dry.”
Annoyed, but compassionate, Iris replies, “Come on. I need a drink of water too.”
As the two girls come to an agreement and walk out of the door, their exit goes unnoticed. The Pastor continues giving his sermon and the congregation sits quietly, listening to what he has to say.
“As children of God, it is our duty as Christians to obey his wishes. Let us analyze Isaiah 41:10. ‘I will strengthen you and help you.’ The Lord assists us and makes us stronger. For through God all things are possible. And the second part of the scripture reads: ‘I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’ With God’s assistance, we are taken to a higher plane. We can only accomplish so much by ourselves, but with the support of the Lord, we can accomplish so much more. We should live by the example the Lord has set for us, and be there to strengthen our brothers, to help our sisters, to uphold our husbands and wives, so that we can better ourselves and accomplish more.”
The room is filled with a combination of “Amen’s” and heads nodding in approval. The two sisters leave the sanctuary and go out in the hall in search of a water fountain.
“Iris, where is it?” the impatient, four-year old says.
“Jasmine, calm down. You act like you ain’t had water in a month.”
“I ain’t had none today.”
The nearest water fountain is in the Fellowship Hall. Iris looks through the door window and says, “There it is.” They attempt to go in, but the door is locked. “Man, somebody locked the door,” she replies while shaking on the doorknob.
“What’s wrong, Iris?” Jasmine, asks.
“This door is locked.”
“Does this mean I can’t get any water?”
“There’s another fountain in here somewhere,” the elder sister of eleven reassures her younger sibling. “We just have to find it.”
After a little more probing they come upon a water fountain right outside of the Pastor’s Study. “Here it is.” Iris leans over the fountain and takes a drink. “Ah, that was good.”
“Let me get a drink. Let me get a drink.” Jasmine jumps up and down with impatience.
“Hold on, Jasmine,” Iris replies and takes another sip of water.
“It’s my turn.”
“Come on, Jas,” Iris calls her affectionately. She steps aside and lets Jasmine walk up to the fountain to take a drink.
“I can’t reach it,” she says, as the duo discovers just how much taller the water fountain really is.
“Do you really need some water?” Iris asks in frustration.
“You got some water. I want some water too.” Young Jasmine folder her arms and turns her back to her sister.
“Come here, Jas. Let me see if I can pick you up,” Iris suggested.
“You might drop me.”
“I won’t drop you.”
Jasmine swallowed her fears and put her faith in her Iris. As Iris walked up to Jasmine she haughtily replied, “If you drop me, I’m gonna tell Daddy.”
“Come on here.” Iris grabbed her little sister under her arms and picked her up to the fountain. “Can you reach it now?”
“Turn the knob on the side real slow and drink from the spout.”
“I know how to do it. I’m not a baby.”
Iris shakes her head to Jasmine’s comments.
“Just hurry up. My arms are getting tired.”
She tries to take another sip of water, but she turns the knob too quickly. A stream of water shoots from the spout and catches Jasmine in the face. She begins to wiggle in Iris’s hands.
“Jasmine, what are you doing?”
Iris steps backwards and into a puddle of water near the fountain. She slips on the water and begins to lose her balance. She tries to straighten herself, but the heels on her shoes don’t allow her to do so. She starts stumbling, but she continues to hold her sister up.
“Iris, don’t drop me!” Little Jasmine is terrified, as she anticipates the fall. Iris protectively pulls Jasmine to her body. She holds Jasmine tightly against her chest in an attempt to hold her little sister from harm. Iris closes her eyes and braces for a fall…
“You girls need to be more careful,” says Reverend Watkins.
Iris can feel her father’s big, strong hands pressed against her back. Her balance is regained and she stands straight once again. She opens her eyes and looks down into the fear filled eyes of her younger sister. “You okay?” she asks.
“Uh hmm. You didn’t drop me.” She smiles and Iris reciprocates.
Iris turns around to her savior.
“Hey, you two. What are you doing out here?”
Iris puts Jasmine down. She runs to her father and grabs his leg.
She innocently replies, “I needed a drink of water, Daddy.”
“Oh, you did?”
“And your sister picked you up so that you could get a drink?”
Iris looks down with a guilty conscience. “I’m sorry we missed your sermon, Daddy.”
“Don’t worry about it.” He smiles. “I probably preached it to you before. It seems that you’ve already learned the lesson.”
Ron Hudson is a senior majoring in English with a minor in Computer Information Systems. He is the current President of the Pi Psi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; the Vice-President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council at UAM; a member of Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society); NAACP; Foliate Oak Staff; a tutor in the University Writing Center; and a Resident Assistant. He is set to receive his Bachelor of Arts in May 2006’ and has career objectives to either work in Marketing, Public Relations, Technical Writing. Ron is also a sergeant in the Arkansas Army National Guard and he has made deployments to Egypt and Iraq.