Her name was Elizabeth. She'd been a member of the parson's church back in a previous century. Back then, during her high school years, she was called Hat Trick by her friends. It was a reference to her ability to score three goals in the majority of soccer games she played. That ability had paid her way through college where she'd remained impressive on the pitch.
Offers to play professionally came. She was once invited to try out for the National Team. She turned all the offers down. College was finished. It was time to get serious about life. She applied to graduate school.
During her college years she and the parson kept in touch frequently. But as the parson left the church of her parents and headed to other parishes and she became deeper immersed in her studies, the contact became less frequent. The parson had been the celebrant at the Service of Resurrection for her maternal aunt. They'd agreed to meet after the service to catch up on things.
An upscale tavern like restaurant was the designated place. She and the parson were seated in a small booth opposite the bar. The server approached and asked what they would have to drink. Elizabeth looked the parson in the eye, and then turned to the server.
“What local wines do you have?”
The server said they didn't have in local wines, but they had a nice selection of wines from the Chateau Elan Winery which was about ninety miles east of their location. After some discussion Elizabeth informed the server she'd like a bottle of “Spring Blossom.”
“And for you, sir,” the server questioned the parson.
Elizabeth did not give the parson a chance to answer. “He'll have a large mug of your seasonal Samuel Adams,” she said.
The server promised a quick return just prior to Elizabeth's explanation.
“I'm not in high school anymore, Parson. I've developed a pretty good pallet for wine. And did you think that all those times I was at your house debating theology with you and Ms. Parson I didn't notice the most abundant product in your frig?”
The parson quickly changed the subject. “So what are you up to now?”
“I've almost completed my doctoral. I'm trying to get my thesis completed and defended.”
The parson interrupted, “What's your doctorate in?”
“I guess you'd best call it religious archeology,” she said. “I've been on a good many digs in Israel. Maybe you might call my doctorate emphasis, “Discovering the genesis of God.”
“Oh my, that must have been interesting. Who have you been studying with?”
She gave him a rundown of the professors who'd taken her under their wing. A couple of the names were familiar to the parson. He expressed his admiration.
About that time the server brought the drinks and then took their orders. Each of them ordered something that included the salad bar. There, as they were making the selection, a discussion of her family began. It continued back to the booth and until the time the server returned to deliver their entree. Elizabeth then talked about Ms. Parson and how she wished she'd learned the art of stained glass from her.
“Thanks for sending me one of her works, Parson. It's hanging in window of my living room. I think about her every day.”
They shared stories of Ms. Parson as they devoured their meal. At the end of it the parson, asked, “So, what are you going to do now that you're almost finished with your doctorate?”
Elizabeth smiled. “You ready for this?”
“Ready for what?”
“I'm heading to seminary.”
“Don't get excited, Parson. I'm not becoming a pastor. That's a job for people like you who can put up with my mother. I'm going to seminary in order to better use my doctorate.”
“How are you going to use your doctorate?”
“I'm going to relate the discoveries of recent decades to what you guys are preaching now. I'm going to challenge you to get serious, to stop treating myths that reveal truth as what they are and not the dictated word of God. I'm going to be a catalyst for the church to get serious about ministry in the 21st century. I'm going to ask you questions you have no answer to and will cause you to rethink your faith. Maybe I have a calling, Parson. Maybe my calling is to make the church professionals uncomfortable.”
There was a moment's silence. The Elizabeth smiled her winning smile and asked, So, what do you think?”
The parson raised his second mug of Sam Adams and said, “I'll drink to that, Elizabeth. I'll drink to that.”