This is the only interesting thing that has happened at First Community Church all day.
It happened in the copy room.
I’m learning how to work the machines, printing test bulletins and seeing how the machine collates and even folds them—it’s quite high-tech for such an ancient procedure actually. And I’m there with Kate, who is showing me how all this stuff works.
Tavish walks in while we’re there, dark jeans and button down white linen shirt, reading something on his tablet and distractedly saying hello, nice to see you, and “could I have one of those directories, please?”
There is a huge stack of church directories on the table behind me and Kate gives me a nod to hand one to Tavish.
“Uh…I’d be happy to, Tavish,” I say politely, and then decide to add, for reasons known only to God, “that is, if you think I’m qualified?”
Tavish gives a quick frown and looks up from his tablet. “Pardon?”
“Or perhaps I’m…overqualified?”
Kate has her head in her hands. To be honest, even my own ears were horrified to hear myself.
Tavish smiles a sideways smile, and next thing I know he’s looking at me. Just looking at me, right in my eyes like there’s a whole world in there. I start to clear my throat nervously. I am full of terrible habits.
He nods. “I think you are perfectly qualified to hand me a new directory.”
He says this without any hint of double meaning. I’m not sure if he got my subtle message.
I hand him the directory and say, confidently, “I’m very happy to be here, Pastor Tavish. In a position I feel I’m well suited for.” I fold my hands to indicate professionalism.
“Well. I’m glad to hear it. Keep it up.” And I can’t quite describe his expression, except that it looked like he was trying to smile and not smile at the same time. If that makes any sense.
Which it doesn’t. Tavish makes no sense to me.
“Want to go out for dinner?” Gwen wanted to know.
“Nah…I mean no thanks!”
“Everything okay?” I knew I was going to lie to my sister.
“Yes, just tired.”
Now I’m asking God for his forgiveness, but I just don’t want her to know that I’m so bothered about Tav and the whole not wanting to hire me business.
And then, I haven’t heard from Frankie. So that’s two men whom I feel rejected by. There’s this pride or maybe it’s just denial, but I don’t want anyone to know that I’m hurting about some man.
But there it is. I can write about it, but I just don’t want to tell anyone about it.
News of my arrival in church is trickling out. Church members are dropping in. They stop, stare, and leave. A few welcome me and mutter a “thank-God-they-finally-found-someone.” I feel like the bearded lady in the circus.
Without the beard.
I hope I don’t ever grow a beard. I read a story about a woman who grew a beard after she turned 35. No reason, just her birthday and BAM! Freak. I hope that never happens to me.
What if I grow a beard?!
No signs of it yet. Have just rubbed my face.
So far, so good.
Faith’s back in the office demanding those copies for her Bible study. I had to come in early to do them.
“Here are the copies you were looking for.”
She grabs them. Doesn’t look at me. Not even a thank you.
“Is Tav-Tav in?”
“Tell him to give me a call when he gets in.”
Tav-Tav and Faith? She might be his type. What do I know?
As soon as she was gone I had to open the windows to let out the horrible aroma of her perfume she left trapped in my office walls.
I know I’m being a bit petty, maybe a whole truckload of petty, but for some reason she seems to want to put me down. And she doesn’t even know me.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to find out.
“Kate, who’s Faith?”
“Ah, Faith.” Kate folds her hands together. “She’s very…special?”
Was that a question?
“That’s what you said before, except you stopped at ‘she’s very…’”
“I did, didn’t I?”
“Anything I should know?”
“You’ll find out.”
“She left a message for Tav.”
“She would,” was Kate’s cryptic response.
Kate is not giving an inch. I refuse to budge either.
But Kate wins.
Maybe Tavish and Faith would make the perfect couple. They could bond over how overqualified or underqualified or whatever I am.
Ask me if I care. I don’t.
One complete week of work.
One complete week of work completed.
I am officially bored.
I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to stay here for three months.
Poor Gwen. She’s really worried about me. She’s never seen me look so listless and sad. Or so she says. She should have seen me back home. All I want to do is sleep.
“Hi Sweetie!” That is my mother. Gwen must have called her and told her about me.
“Hi Mom! Love and miss you all. How are things going?”
She’s not buying it.
“Tell me about you.”
I could pull the wool over Gwen’s eyes, but not my mother. She has this built in lie detector. She would have made a great Nazi interrogator.
“Honey, I know you’re hurting. You might as well tell me about it. What has Frankie not done and what has someone else done?
Best Mom ever. She knew everything. The only person who could pierce through my denial and know there was something wrong.
“Do you want me to come and see you girls?”
And then all the floodgates opened and I told her about how I hadn’t heard from Frankie and about my new boss not wanting to hire me.
“Okay, let’s work with one problem at a time.”
I just sobbed more.
“First, you know I like Frankie, but he’s a loser. I would like him if he treated you well, but he doesn’t.”
“Mom, he doesn’t love me. He talks with all these other women online and likes their half-naked Instagram photos. Then he says he loves and adores me, but treats me like I mean nothing to him.”
“Nat, stop checking on him. Let him carry on. You’re not going to get better unless you stop seeing what he’s doing.
“I just can’t help it. I keep wondering what I did or said…maybe if I only I was like the other girls…”
“No, if he’s looking for a hooker, he’s a hooker type of guy. You don’t want a man who wants a hooker.”
Yes that’s my Mom, she never sugar-coats things. Hearing my Mom talk brought calmness and assurance back into my soul.
“I keep thinking it’s all my fault…”
“Don’t go there, Babe. Don’t put yourself down. It’s not you, it’s him. I’m sorry, my love, this situation will take a little while to work out. But trust God and you’ll be surprised at how things are going to turn out.”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive. As for your boss, I’m pretty sure he turned you down because he thought you were overqualified. And be honest, my pet, you were just looking for a job for three months. Maybe he realized you wouldn’t be staying long.”
“You think so?”
“Without a doubt. Yes, I know that I’m biased, but anyone can tell how gifted, sweet, and loving you are.”
And then, I made a decision.
“Mom, I want to come home.”
“You can come home whenever you want. You know Daddy and I miss you and would love to have you back. Just pray about it and do what you feel God wants you to do.”
After she had hung up, I realized how lonely I was without my parents.
She was so smart. She didn’t tell me to stay, but she knew that I had made a commitment to working (even though it was for only three months) and wouldn’t quit.
Okay, I’m not a quitter.
And I don’t need any man to validate who I am.
So Gloria Gaynor and I sang “I Will Survive.”
And with my new found confidence and the love of the best family ever…I am going to sleep.