My phone rang late yesterday afternoon. It was the phone call I’d been both expecting and dreading for some time now. My sweet Sunday School teacher called me under some pretense. We made a bit of small talk and then she asked if she could come for a visit. I declined as I was just in having a little break from cutting grass. I really was covered from head to toe in grass and dirt. That wasn’t a lie. And I really was just about to head out the door to get back on the mower when she called. That wasn’t a lie either.
She decided she’d cut to the chase. I knew she would eventually ask the question. “D’Ma, why don’t you come to Sunday School anymore?”, she asked with a sad voice. “I’ve been meaning to call and talk to you about that. No one has done anything to offend me. It’s a fantastic group of girls and you are an excellent teacher. It’s got nothing to do with anybody there. I just feel that since I’m engaged now and will be married soon and this really is Charles’ family’s church it’s time for me to move on. I know he isn’t going right now, but I can’t imagine that he would feel comfortable going there with me and my new husband. And I can’t imagine The Tour Guide will feel all that comfortable there either. It’s the right thing to do”, came my reply.
“But you could still come until The Tour Guide gets here. Then you could find a church together,” she pressed. “I’ve visited around a little just trying to get a feel for new surroundings and what might be out there. I’m not going to tell you I’ve been to church every Sunday, but I really feel that this is the right thing for me to do. While I don’t feel all that uncomfortable around Charles’ family, I’m pretty sure I make them uncomfortable”, I said firmly. “But you don’t make Samantha uncomfortable”, she argued. “I’m not so certain about that. I’m pretty sure I do.”
“Well, I know you’ve prayed about it. I really wish you’d reconsider. It’s just that I miss having you there and I know the other girls do. They’re so accepting,” pushing farther. “Oh, Mrs. Beale, I know that. I promise it has nothing to do with you or them. They’ve not given me any reason to feel anything but welcome there. Look, we all do things in life and there are consequences and we don’t get to choose them. This is one of those consequences for me. It’s time for me to move on,” I said. “Okay, well, I’m going to pray about this. Please think about it some more. I love you,” she said with more sadness in her voice. “I know you do, Mrs. Beale. I love you, too.”
Even though I’d known this question was coming I had no idea what I was going to say. If I told her the complete truth, If I told her that I no longer believe the way she believes I’d be the subject of the Church Prayer Chain. Within an hour the whole congregation would be in an uproar. I’ve already been accused of going through a mid-life crisis because of my relationship with The Tour Guide.
I know she loves me. I know she’s concerned for me. She’s doing what a good Christian Sunday School teacher does. One of her sheep has gone astray and she’s trying to rescue it. I don’t know how to tell her this sheep has transformed into something else. It would break her heart. I’m not ready for this. I’m not strong enough for this.