I, Natalie Taylor, Pledge to Myself…

April 23

It was random.

I was bored.

I was having a very boring, bad day. I’m sure Faith or Jessica had something to do with my normally bright self.

And Brad’s beard was bothering me. Really why a goatee??

So I did it.

I was on Twitter. And on my TL, there he was. The Snooty Seminarian with his beard. So I blocked him.

And forgot about it.

Then days and days later, I followed 2Seminarian.

Now here’s where it gets awkward.

Snooty and 2Seminarian are one and the same person with two separate accounts!! In my defense, Twitter gets a bit confusing, especially when you always have twenty-seventy-five things on your mind or you’re sneaking on Twitter, when you should be working. I’m sure nobody else in the whole-wide-world does that, except me. Right?

Anyway, when I found out that they were the same person, I gave him a bad time, but he was a great sport…and all’s well that ends well.


April 24

What if I say I’m not like the others?
What if I say I’m not just another one of your plays?
You’re the pretender

What if I say I will never surrender?

I’m at a Foo Fighters’ concert. Yes!

I’m dancing.

I’m jamming.

I’m rocking.

I’m happy…Noooooo.

That was just my alarm.

Shock waves register throughout my body. I feel like the shifting San Andreas Fault.

6:05 a.m.?

Are you kidding me?

Ugh. Mornings…absolutely my worst time, except if I had a Foo Fighters concert to go to. Except that the Foo Fighters wouldn’t be stupid enough to have a concert so early in the morning.

I’m waking up.

Waking up involves rolling off the bed and onto my knees. Step two: I crawl to the end of the bed, grab the bedpost, slowly hoist myself up, and then drag my stumbling, blinking, still barely awake self to the bathroom. I stand by the sink, using the faucet as a cane to prop me up, and peer blearily into the mirror. The face I see staring back at me this morning is not a pretty one.

Too early in the morning to be a pretty, happy, cheerful one. There are definitely a lot of fruits of the Spirit missing in this face and body today.

The Foo Fighters haven’t yet finished with me. I hear them in the background.

I’m the voice inside your head

You refuse to hear
I’m the face that you have to face

Mirrored in your stare

I’m what’s left, I’m what’s right

I’m the enemy
I’m the hand that will take you down

Bring you to your knees
So who are you?

Yeah, who are you?

Who am I? I have no idea. I definitely feel like I’ve fallen from a great, happy, deliriously happy, life into this prison.

But…I can do this. I need my shower and the warm water to wake me up. It’s like a soundproof paradise where the hot water never runs out.

I also have to solve the daily dilemma drama: What am I going to wear to work? I’ve run out of what Gwen calls “appropriate church clothes.” Quote-unquote. Like I had any to begin with. I look through what’s left of my tired outfits and pick out a skirt and blouse—the most churchy clothes I can find. Especially since I have to go to the end of the week Admin’s end-of-the-week celebration. It was bad enough having that nightmare gift from Mark.


11:30 am.

“You ready?”

“Kate, I don’t want to.”

“We have no choice. It helps build community.”

“I don’t want community.”

So we went to build community, but I am still protesting.

“Hi, I’m Eunice. Welcome to our church.”

“Hi Eunice, I’m Natalie, new on the staff at First Church. You have a wonderful facility here.”

“Not as large as yours, but used very well.”

Pretty well used, I’m thinking.

“You’re new, aren’t you?” Eunice sees “newbie” written all over me and she’s thinking I need a mentor—her. I’m thinking, one beautiful hour of my life gone forever—her.

“Now, Natalie, you’re very young, but not as young as I was when Pastor Harold interviewed me to be the pastor. Ha ha! Did I say pastor, I meant his secretary? Although, he did say that I knew as much about him as the Bible, we taught Sunday School together since Marge was always a bit sickly, so I guess I was like his co-pastor, not that I would be presumptuous to think that I could be as anointed as he was, bless him, what a pastor, anyway, I must say that I was very blessed to get the job, and,” she turned and gave me a triumphant look, “I will soon be celebrating my fiftieth anniversary as the church secretary.”

I’m not sure if she thought that I’d be impressed or inspired, but my not-yet-fully-lived life flashed before my eyes. There she was, seventy-something, round, but dressed as neat as a pin.

“I knew you’d be speechless when you heard that,” Eunice smiled. “I’m not sharing this as something to be proud of, although, I’m very proud of it in a humble way, all glory to Jesus, but, I just wanted it to be something to motivate you to do your best, not give up, like so many of the young people do today. I was just wanting you to know…”

At that point, my brain had begun to overflow with stressful thoughts of an unending prison sentence as a church slave—like Hotel California, I’d checked in and was never ever going to check out. Never. Ever. My nervous system must have a safety valve that is triggered to go off when on horror overload, because I didn’t hear another word until I felt someone tugging at my left elbow.

“And just to wrap it up, Natalie,” Eunice’s stare seemed to penetrate into the depths of my foggy brain, “just to wrap it up, I don’t mean to overwhelm you, but young folks today need to have a role model. I was telling George, ‘George, young folks today need to have a role model,’ and you know what he says, he says, ‘Eunice, you’re…’ I can’t use his exact word…anyway, he says, ‘young folks today need to have a role model—someone like you!’ What do you think of that?”

I think I just died and went to hell. Eunice had inspired me. I owed her a huge debt of gratitude. I needed to get out of the church office, and fast.

“Eunice, thank you,” I said with deep sincerity. She was very touched by my gratitude, and let me know it for another eleven minutes and thirty-seven seconds. This was when Kate came over and helped detach me from the loquacious Eunice.

“God bless you,” I whispered, as we made our escape to the parking lot.

“I thought you need rescuing,” Kate laughed, as we got into her car.

“I’m sorry. I just didn’t know how to stop her. She seems like such a nice lady…and she was trying to help. I feel so sorry for her.” I added, as an afterthought. “I want to cry.”

“Eunice is very sweet,” Kate agreed, pulling out of the parking lot and heading back to church. “But once Eunice starts talking, she doesn’t stop.”


11:55 p.m.

I’m writing this pledge or making a covenant with myself. Can you pledge yourself or make a covenant with yourself? Not sure. Will check with Mitch tomorrow.

“I, Natalie Taylor, do humbly pledge to myself to get out of the church office and be in Paris within one year. Please God, make it happen. Unless Frankie really changes my mind or I change his mind. I wonder if Tav is out with Faith this evening. Faith seemed all mysterious in the church office this afternoon and she had a new perfume on. She did look at Tav in that way women look at the church “catch” when they seem to be the one who has caught him…and they want all the other women in the room to notice that there was an inside ‘going on’ that no one knew about. Like I really cared. It’s not that I cared, I just would like to know. So did Kate. So it’s not just me. I pledge to get myself out of this office and I wonder if Frankie would really work in Paris. He’s so Italian and I’m sure would drive the French crazy. Amen.”

Does one say Amen to a pledge?

Maybe if one’s a Christian.

I’m so confused. And I hate Frankie. I also hate Tav.

Gwen would say, “You can’t go around hating every man you meet. It’s not Christlike.”

Told Gwen that I only hated them in Christ. Besides, it is so not true that I hate men as my favorite Bible is, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

I just don’t have to like or keep what I catch. Haha!

“You’re incorrigible! I give up.” Gwen sighs.

Natalie Taylor
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