This was a marathon speech for Beryl. Steve had never heard her speak on any subject at such length. He was deeply moved.
“Is that everything that’s been on your mind Steve?” George asked quietly.
“Truthfully, George,” he replied, “No. It isn’t. The church isn’t the only issue. There’s also Marjorie to consider. I now feel so guilty, so terribly sorry, that I made her feel so alienated. I feel so rotten that she felt neglected – so strongly that she had to look elsewhere and leave me. I also regret how I made Peter feel.”
“I’ve never stopped loving her really, even though I know she would never be able to forgive me. She’s moved on and I wish her only the best in her new life. I owe her an apology – not expecting any kind of reconciliation. It would also help me to move on, even if an apology cannot make amends for the hurt I caused. I do hope, anyway, that she’ll feel better about our parting if she hears me apologise at last. And I’ll apologise to Peter – though he does seem to have forgiven me.”
“I did wonder about that,” he said, “when you were talking about the difficulties in your family that your conversion had caused. I do remember how upset you had been. Marjorie would never have spoken to us about it. She would probably have seen us as part of the problem. I agree with you though. It would be no bad thing to say, ‘Sorry,’ to her – and to Peter.”
“Thank you for trusting us enough to unburden yourself. That kind of honesty is always difficult. We’ve been good friends together for years, Steve. For us – I’m sure I speak for Beryl – all we want is for you to continue in your journey as a seeker and for you to find peace.”
“I’ll speak to Sheila. We’ll trust to the Lord to find a way forward. Don’t worry about what the congregation, the house group or the PCC think. This will just be a six-day wonder to them.”
“It’s just struck me,” he continued, “At our house last Sunday: Cathy’s anti-Christian jibe at you. She was well off the mark wasn’t she?”
“Well,” Steve said, “how was she to know. In any case, she apologised on Tuesday at the dance and we’re going to meet – to resolve our differences, to look for common ground and to compare our thoughts, about ‘the meaning of life’ – all of these I suppose – I hope.”
“That will be nice. I hate seeing you two bicker,” Beryl said.
“It’s just banter, Beryl,” Steve said, “Usually anyway. Would you like another cup of anything?”
They said that they would, and the topics moved elsewhere, on to more comfortable territory.
Before they left, sometime later, George asked Steve how he would feel about completing his ministry rota – just for the remainder of the month.
“That will be no problem. George. I have already prepared prayers and hymns for Morning Prayer tomorrow and a sermon for a week tomorrow. The question is whether you still feel happy about me doing them?”
“Steve, I have no problems about that at all. It will certainly give us time to re-draw next month’s rota. Thank you.”
As they left, Beryl gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Well, I started again with that photo of Steve’s house and I’m using yet another photo from the archives – this time of the interior of a church.
This shot is several years old. I took it with my very first dslr camera – a 16 MP Pentax K-50 – a beginners’ model. I used one of the two kit lenses that I bought as a bundle with the camera – a Pentax 70-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
EXIF data were: 1/20 secs @ f/9 and 70mm. ISO was 100.