I, Natalie Taylor: Can the Church Stop Having Problems, Please?

May 4
7:10 a.m.

Nobody puts Baby in a corner.

Okay, I know I shouldn’t have stayed up late to watch “Dirty Dancing”…but I don’t care. Whenever it’s on, I have to watch it. It’s like this thing takes over me and I sit transfixed staring at the TV. I wonder if there is anyone out there who has to watch some movie when it’s playing on TV. I feel the same way about While You Were Sleeping, French Kiss, (although Mom thought that was a porn movie and was forbidding me from seeing it!), Casablanca, Sleepless in Seattle, An Affair to Remember… Actually, there are many movies.

Anyway, I was alone. I didn’t want to go to church, especially with Gwen and Mitch gone. So I watched it.

Not my fault it was playing continuously. I watched it five times.

Don’t think I should mention that to Gwen. But it’s making it difficult for me to get to work on time.

8:40 a.m.

“Emergency Exec Staff meeting.”

“Kate. What are you doing here?” It’s Monday, that’s her day off.

“Mark called. Where’s Tav?”

“No clue. Just got here.”

“You look exhausted. Out partying while your sis is away?”

“I wish. Just stayed up late watching a movie.”

“Which one?”

The Greatest Story Ever Told?” I didn’t want to confess to Kate about “Dirty Dancing.” What if this was like on the church’s taboo list of movies? I hadn’t yet checked to see if they have one.

“The Greatest Lie Ever Heard!”

Dirty Dancing.”

Dirty Dancing? I love Dirty Dancing! Why didn’t you call me I’d have watched it with you?”

“Well, it was late…” I’m trying not to make eye-contact.

“Natalie Taylor, did you spend all day watching the same movie?”

“No… Don’t be… Okay, yes.”

“And you didn’t go to church?”

“Well, not really…” Is this when she tells me that she has to talk to Mark and the Personnel Committee about me?

“Hungry Eyes…. One look at you and I can’t disguise…” ” She starts singing.

Yes, my BFF!! I’m not being fired. I happily join in.

“I’ve got hungry eyes…I feel the magic between you and I…” And twirl…and slam straight into…


“I want to hold you…” He adds, holding me as he steadies me.

Awkward. Nice. Very awkward. Very nice. I hope I don’t do the fainting thing like those heroines in the romance novels my mom loves to read.

Dirty Dancing fan?” Kate is very amused as she watches me disentangle myself from Tav’s arms.

Those nice, strong arms. Didn’t take him for a gym rat. But really.

Refocus. REFOCUS.

“Guilty as charged.” Tav carries on to his office.

How is it that men are never affected by anything? Kate winks at me and is gone.

Ugh. Now she thinks I have a thing for Tav. Just like Faith. And Jessica. And… Uuugghhhh. I don’t. I’m just…it’s so awkward.

Anyway, I’ll be leaving soon so it won’t matter.

10:00 a.m.

So we’re in Mark’s office and I’m dreading hearing why we’re having an emergency meeting on a Monday…which I consider my day. It’s like my holiday work day where I can slide easily into a new work week without anyone else around. Except Tav. And we’ve already worked that out.

“Randy won’t be teaching Sunday school any more.” Mark begins.


I’d never met Randy, but everyone said what an answer to prayer Randy was. What Walt is to the Seniors, Randy is to Christian Ed. He had just joined the church and immediately volunteered to help out with Sunday school and Vacation Bible School. This was obviously going to be hard on the Christian Ed team.

“It appears that Randy has a history of child molestation.”

I’m very glad that I never met Randy.

“Nobody bothered to do a background check when he offered to teach the fourth graders?” Same thing I was thinking. Tav’s angry.

“This is one of the weak points of the church. Hard to find people to volunteer and wanting people to feel welcome, churches open up their arms to the wrong people.”

“Did he…?” Kate begins.

We both dread the answer, thinking about all those sweet kids in and out of our offices all week long.

“No. Thank God, he didn’t get a chance to hurt any of the kids in our church. We always have team-teachers.”

“How did you find out?”

“I just didn’t feel comfortable about him so I asked Paul to check him out. Unfortunately, he did hurt three kids at Grace Church,” Mark says. Paul used to be head of the police department, and the church often asks his advice on security questions.

“If any parents call asking questions, just refer them to me. Mark has enough on his plate right now.”

“Thanks Tav. That would be a huge help.”

We leave the office quietly and I’ve been sitting at my desk trying to process all of this.

So much information—bad information. Things do come in threes. Maybe we’ve had our threes. I don’t know. I’ll have to count.

I’m hoping for good news.


3:55 p.m.

“Hi Natalie.”

Why does Walt always have to whisper my name?


“I don’t want to bother you…or anyone…just want to help…you know, heard about…you know…Randy.”

Oh great. Walt knows about the Randy problem. The church is trying to keep it quiet. They don’t want to concern the parents. Hope Jessica doesn’t find out. It will be all over the Internet.


“Let Pastor Tavish know…you know, I’ll be happy to fill in…until someone more suitable…only if they need.”

He reminds me of Uriah Heep. And the Dickens character, not the band. Why can’t I like Walt?

“Thanks Walt. Will do.”

I watch him shuffle out.

“Was that Walt?” Mark’s dumping pages of material on my desk for me to transcribe.

“Yes. He heard about Randy and offered his help.”

“We need more Walts in this church.”

Do we though?

“I’ll go give him a call.”

“Mark…” I want to tell him about the queasy feeling I have about Walt. But what do I say?

Mark, I have a queasy feeling about Walt.

Thanks Natalie. Maybe you just need to take some antacids.

“What Natalie?”

“Um…nothing. Just if you need any help too, let me know.” Dear Lord, please don’t let him ask me to fill in for Sunday school. I hate teaching Sunday school.

“Thanks Natalie! It’s really good to have you on board.”

Now I feel guilty. How do I tell him I’m planning on leaving?

Leaving very soon.


May 7
3:35 p.m.

“Hi Natalie.”

Aaaaaaahhhh. That is me screaming.

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.” Walt is contrite-ish about being the cause of my near death experience. He doesn’t realize how near he came to his.

“Don’t do that again, Walt. Why don’t you make some noise…or get cat bells…or something?”

Walt is laughing…silently!! I can’t hear you, Walt. Laugh loud. Walk loud. Talk loud.

“I’m sorry. But you’re face was so funny.”

I’m sure it was. I’m laughing too now.

“Natalie, how are things going about Randy? You know?”

“What do you mean?” I have no idea what “You know?” even means. I apparently had missed something.

“I overheard Pete say something more about Randy. Sometimes people don’t know I’m there. They can say pretty mean things too. It’s not nice.”

Okay, I’m getting creeped out. I’m hoping that remark wasn’t about me, because…Did I say anything about him? Jessica? Faith? Tav? I hope not Tav. I wouldn’t want Tav to know…what did I say to Kate?

When in doubt, I resort to my trusted, “Yes?” My head is bobbing around in encouragement hoping he’ll just keep talking.

“You know even though they say they’re Christian, they still can be evil.”

“You’re so right, Walt.”

“I hope Pete wasn’t upset with me. I did go into his room when he was in the phone…”

I know why Pete was upset. That was probably his girlfriend and now Walt knows.

“Don’t worry, Walt.”


Thank God, he’s leaving. “You know I wouldn’t touch anything in his room, don’t you? So if Pete says I took anything…a key…I don’t need a front door key. There’s always someone around when I get to the office.”

Random thought—I wonder if Walt has taken a key from Pete’s room? But for what?

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