Elizabeth Florio, Sarah, Jenny Florio, and Becky Florio. The Florios now run two Bright Lights groups and they have represented Bright Lights several times at the PA Homeschool conference for us. We enjoyed the time we were able to spend with them over the weekend!
Friday evening we ate at Cracker Barrel with the Florio and Moberg families. Michelle Moberg (right) has also just started a Bright Lights group. Here at the girls’ table we got into a great talk with our waitress. I asked her, “Hey, I have an interesting question for you.”
“Okay,” she said.
“Do you think going to Heaven is a free gift or something you have to earn?”
She replied that she believes in a kind of reincarnation where you get reincarnated several times and then eventually end up in heaven.
“So when you finally get to heaven are you in your ‘human form’ again?” I asked.
“Hmm…good question. I guess I’ve never thought about that,” she said.
“Well some people believe that in the Karmic circle you eventually just become sort of ‘one with the universe’ …is that what you believe?”
“Yeah, I think that’s more what I believe. Eventually I’ll just become ‘energy’.”
“Interesting…” I said.
“My relatives and I debate this all the time…but no one really knows so we just always keep going in circles,” she told me.
“Well, it’s important stuff to talk about,” I agreed.
“So what do you believe? I’m curious now!” she asked.
“Well, I’d like to tell you, but I also know you are on the job and I don’t want to take your time…” I said.
“I’ll tell you what,” she replied. “I only have one other table. I’ll go take care of them and then come back!”
“Ok, sounds good!” I replied.
After a few minutes she came back, ready to hear whatever I had to say.
“Well, first of all, I think this world was designed. I think it’s obvious by looking around and seeing the beauty and complexity around us.” I gave some examples. She definitely agreed with that point.
“So then the big question is: Who made us and why,” I said.
“Well, I’ve come to conclude there are a lot of reasons to believe the Bible,” I explained, beginning to list some of them.
“Oh, I’ve read the Bible,” she said. “But I just don’t think I completely agree with it.”
She explained how one thing she had a big problem with is how someone could live a rotten life and then on their deathbed say “I’m sorry” to God and be able to go to Heaven. She recounted how every Sunday afternoon some pastor’s kids come in to eat and they’ve made some really rude comments to her.
I agreed with her that many call themselves Christians but do not act like Christ.
“When people become a Christian, their life should show it,” I said.
She definitely agreed.
“But just because people mess up and make mistakes doesn’t mean that what God told us in the Bible isn’t true,” I told her.
I mentioned how God has to punish evil because He is just and good—but also that the principle of “mercy” is a beautiful thing and God can show mercy if He wants to. Mercy is never “deserved” otherwise it wouldn’t be mercy! And really, we all need God’s mercy. We’ve all broken God’s law.”
“Yeah, and that’s what makes me tend to believe more in the reincarnation thing…” she said, “Because I know I mess up and with reincarnation you have the chance to start over and keep trying…”
We must have talked for at least 15 minutes. I mentioned how ultimately God decides what happens–not us.
Another thing she brought up is how she can’t understand how God seems so “harsh” in the O.T. and then so “mild” in the new.
“One thing that helps me,” I told her “is to look at it this way: Jesus is the exact representation of God. When God became a man we were able to get a better picture of what He was really like.” I explained how in Jesus we see God’s holiness and justice, but also God’s desire to heal and show mercy.
“Hmm, I’ve never thought of it that way before,” she responded.
“But it’s in the cross that we really see God’s justice and love together,” I said. “Because we see God punishing sin—but He didn’t punish us. He punished Himself so He could then give mercy to us.”
I asked her if she liked to read.
“I LOVE to read,” she said.
I gave her a copy of One Heartbeat Away. “It’s definitely Christian and it’s very straight forward,” I explained, “ but I like the way he reasons and logically presents the facts.”
As we were leaving she came up and told me, “My friend was looking at the book in the kitchen and she wants to read it. She said she really liked the way it was written. So now I’m going to have to share it,” she complained, jokingly.
I went out to the van and got another book for her friend. Then I said goodbye to our waitress for the last time.
“You made my night!” she said, giving me a hug, and telling me how much she enjoyed “debating” with us. I told her that we really enjoyed it too. She promised to e-mail me when she finished the book.