I, Natalie Taylor: Coincidence? I Think Not


April 3
10:15 a.m.

Here’s an interesting little thing I noticed from the office today. I haven’t really said anything to anyone yet, but honestly. It’s all pretty obvious to me.

So this is what happened. Andrea, our worship something, comes into the office late this afternoon, and she’s all flustered and singing (oh yes, she’s the lead singer) and can’t stop talking about having found her “soul mate in Christ.” I don’t know why that phrase sort of sets me off, like there was something else to it. Soul mate in Christ? Seriously, what does that even mean?

It was only when Chuck the Music Minister walked into the office to run some copies off too that I guessed who the “soul mate” was. A bit too much of a coincidence. It could have been the quick look in his direction, her sharp intake of breath, her sudden, complete disinterest in what I was saying, and how she suddenly got a little louder and more animated. Maybe all of these.

The thing is, Chuck is married.

There isn’t really anything to say about it, not really, but I did sort of mention it to Kate just now during our coffee break. She didn’t seem too concerned about what I was trying to say. All she said was she thought it was so good how they both worked so well together.

Kate can be so blind sometimes. Or I could be wrong. And this could be considered gossip. Have asked Mom about this and she explained the difference between gossip and fact. She said if I was spreading lies, intending to harm someone or destroy their reputation that would be gossip. But if I was just expressing a genuine concern—not those “prayer concerns” which are just gossip in a really bad and awkward disguise. Anyway, it had to be about something that might be damaging to the church and I went to the pastor (or Kate) to tell them what I was worried about, that would not be gossip. I love my mom.

Since I’m not sure and it’s just a hunch, I decided to call this a gossfact.

3:45 p.m.

This just happened.

So I step into the office supply closet and the door’s slightly ajar. I hear footsteps into my office but am precariously balanced on the stepladder, reams of paper in one hand, ink cartridge in the other. I’m not sure who thought of stacking the copy paper on the topmost shelf. It’s not like we run out of paper and ink only twice a year.

“Hi! Is there anybody in the office?”

Jessica. I did’t want to answer. Maybe she’ll just leave.

“Hello.” Louder.

Maybe she’ll give up.

“Hi, Jessica!”

“Pastor Tavish! I’m so sorry to bother you.”

“Can I help?”

“I just wanted to drop this information off for the bulletin. I know it’s a bit late…”

Bit?? It was supposed to be in days ago and the bulletin for Easter is already done. Finis. Not doing it again. Ever again. Done.

“I’m not sure where Natalie is. But you can leave it on her desk.”

Stay away from my desk!

“It’s pretty quiet around here! Isn’t it?”

I can’t hear what Tav said. Speak up, man!

“I guess we both are alone together?” Eew. Jessica is so gross when she gets flirty.

“Haha! Nope, not really. Sorry to spoil it for you!” Shrill little laugh.

It’s Faith.

Cell phone rings. “Hi!” Tavish has answered a call. “Just a moment.”

“Sorry, have to take this call in my office.” He leaves.

My arms were beginning to cramp with the weight of the paper, so I carefully placed the printer ink back and tried to transfer the reams of paper to the other hand.

“Funny that I always see you in the church office now,” Jessica is telling Faith. I’m nodding in agreement at this point.

“Funny, I was going to say the same thing to you.” Another shrill laugh. “Aren’t you all dressed up? Very…provocative. I wouldn’t bother, you know. Pastor Tavish wouldn’t be interested, no matter what you tried.”

Faith is going in for the kill?

“I’m not beautiful. I agree. You’re beautiful.” Jessica sounds too nice.

“Thanks for noticing.” Ouch.

“You’d look more beautiful in a casket.” Claws are out!

“You—I don’t have to stay around for this! Jesus has created me to be beautiful, loving, and kind.”

Really, Faith? Is that all you got? Spiritual words? I was hoping for so much more.

And then, they’re gone. My office was quiet again.

Sort of…until the stepladder gave way under my feet, and all the reams of paper in my hand went crashing down. I desperately grasped the top shelf was dangling ungraciously down from it when Tav rushed in.

“Natalie! You alright?”

Dear God, you must hate me. Why does it have to be Tav?

“Shut up! And just help me down!”

“Ask me nicely or I won’t help.” Now that he knows I’m not dead, he’s very amused by the whole situation.

“Okay. Please. Pastor Tavish.”

He holds me by my waist and sets me down.

Tav’s hands on my waist. Don’t think about it.

Tav’s hands on my waist.

“Next time, just ask me, I’ll be happy to help.”

“Over my dead body.” Because I’m always talking about death.

Tav’s hands on my wait. Must stop thinking about it.

11:30 p.m.

So I was late for the worship service at Gwen and Mitch’s church. Shocker because I’m sooooo punctual. They go to a very traditional church and I couldn’t find them, or a place to sit, and every time I thought I found the perfect spot, usually the one at the outer aisle, near an exit, someone would tell me they’ve saved it—and stare at me like I’m an intruder. Hello! Didn’t anyone go to New Visitors 101?

The organ was melancholy, deadly Good Friday music, and I found myself being pushed to the front and ended up sitting on the first pew.

The music keeps on and on, and I realize there’s a special processional for the day. Every one stands up as the cross bearer is slowing marching down the aisle, he solemnly stops at the steps to the altar, trips, and does a perfect forward dive with the cross aiming straight for the Communion Table. The pastor and worship leader rush to keep the cross from crashing down on the Communion Table.

I, of course, lost it and couldn’t stop laughing. I just couldn’t. The more I tried, the worse it got. The people in the pew next to me were looking at me like I’m a lunatic and that made me laugh even more. So I took advantage of the commotion in the front and quickly bolted out the first door I could find.

I am feeling badly about the poor cross bearer. But I do think it’s better to laugh on Good Friday because we have something to be joyful about. Sometimes we play so hard at being meaningful during Lent, we don’t focus on what Jesus’ has already done on the cross. I mean, we’re not really living in Bible times, people. Lighten. Up.

And there ends my sermon because Frankie just texted and he’s going to call. Hmmm….

Photo via Flickr

Natalie Taylor
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