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the lunch guest
by collette mcfarland 
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Tuesday, April 1, 2008the lunch guest
the Lunch guest

There he sat, in the choir looking so angelic. Little did the congregation know how hateful he could be. As I watched him smiling and singing my heart turned over and over with the hurtful words he’d hurled at me before we left for church, in separate cars. And to top it off, as I watched him, the guy behind him watched me. A triangle of watchers! I avoided His eyes while my husband, Jeff, avoided looking at me. It was so totally uncomfortable that I was overjoyed (a slice of the silver lining in the black cloud that hung over me) to hear the final benediction so I could flee to my car. Jeff stayed with the choir members and would come home in his own car later. Maybe he’d find his stuff thrown out on the front lawn, a constant fantasy of mine!

At home I relived the entire morning over and over allowing tears to drip onto the food I was preparing for my lunch. I prepared a salad for myself, Jeff would be going to his mother’s for lunch. I was invited also, of course, but there was no way I felt like being near his family today. This was my way of cutting off my nose to spite my face, his mother always provided a lavish Sunday meal.

Great, some one was at the front door. Should I answer it or not. It was probably someone from the paper trying to get a subscription, or a religious zealot seeking converts to their church! I scrunched up on the couch so I wouldn’t be seen from the door’s window. Rap. Rap. Rap, rap, rap. Oh, bother. I got up an peeked out the window in time to see Him place his feet on the first step down off the porch. The second foot followed, then the next foot. Darn it all! I opened the door. My visitor turned, smiled, nodded and walked in. Don’t bother to ask or say hi.

He settled Himself on the sofa, looked at my solitary meal sitting on the coffee table, and the litter about me, then He raised a brow and scrutinized me. Tissue was wadded up all over the room and a full, well it was full once, box of Kleenex was sitting on the end table. It was a pathetic sight.

“Wasn’t that an inspirational sermon?” He opened the conversation, a safe topic.

“Yea,” I answered. Should I offer him something to eat? “Would you like some salad and something to drink?” Say no, that’ll mean you don’t plan on staying long!

“Sure.” He responded. Well, there you go, He can’t read minds after all! I divided up my huge salad onto two plates, added some bread and fruit and presto, a meal for two. I won’t tell him how I cleaned the lettuce with my tears, let him think it was just too salty.

“So what was your favorite part of the sermon?” He quizzed.

Oops, now it stopped being a safe topic, I hadn’t really listened, so caught up was I in anger and self flagellation for being a doormat. If He'd asked what my plans for retaliation were, I would have been a verbal fountain.

“Well….I …the part….”

“Hmmm. I see. The sermon was on love and forgiveness.”

“Yeah, I know. I was there.” I retorted, shifting uncomfortably.

“No, you weren’t. You were off in another world, plotting revenge and planning on a pay back.” He proclaimed without reproach, just factually.

I lowered my eyes. I couldn’t face Him right now. How dare he make me feel uncomfortable in my own home. His eyes were bearing down on me, I felt my clothes dissolve. I pictured my heart on a ultra sound machine beating visibly for Him. No, it wasn’t beating in rhythm. It was too cold to beat at a normal rate. It was calcifying, becoming harder, less efficient.

He placed his hand on my knee, not in a inappropriate manner, just gently to get my attention. When He removed his hand a red spot remained on my jeans. Blood?

“Vengeance is God’s. It’s your job to love and forgive.”

“You don’t know what he said to me this morning! You’ve never been hurt like I was!” I exploded. How dare he judge me. How dare He intrude into my brain and heart. What a pervert, what a busy body.

“You’re right. I have never trusted someone and been disappointed.” He stated leaning back on the sofa.

Suddenly light appeared on the wall in front of me. Something took shape like a movie reel. Two men were standing in a garden and I could see a crowd of official looking men in the background wearing military suits. There He was, being approached by one of his friends. The friend laid his hand on His shoulder and leaned in with a kiss, then pandemonium broke loose as men were shoved about and He was handcuffed and escorted out of the scene, tears rolling down His cheeks, tears on a face that looked like mine!

"I just want to hurt him!" I cried, "I want him to cry like he made me cry!"

He reached over to a picture of Jeff on the side table. Removing the picture from the frame he held it up. "Here, beat the heck out of this, if it'll make you feel better." He offered.

I was ready, fist formed anger filling my soul. Vengeance on the rise. I could taste the pain I was going to inflict on Jeff. Right before I sent my fist flying I pulled back. "Wait, if you hold the picture that high and so close to your face I'll hit you! Move the picture over and to the side!"

"That's my point. Whenever you hurt one of the least in my kingdom, you hurt me! I stand behind all my children."

It finally penetrated my understanding. The sermon this morning had been aimed at me. Strategically spoken, personally delivered. I missed the point. The sacrificial lamb had to follow me home. Make sure I understood. The phone rang as I was digesting my revelation.
"Hey, come on over here, Sissy {his sister} made a neat dessert. You need to try it out!" Jeff, casually, informally inviting me over to his mother's. No apology, just picking up at a different spot in our lives.

I looked at Him, He shrugged. "He's a man, that might be the closest you get to an apology. Go for it," He prompted. "Besides, I'm the only man I know that's never had to say he's sorry," he added with a devilish grin.

"I'll be right there." I informed Jeff. Returning the phone to the receiver I reached for my keys. "Do you want a ride home," I offered.

Opening his arms to engulf me in a comforting, and encouraging hug, He stated, "I'm already home." As we embraced he vaporized in my hold. The mist he formed rose and entered my air passages, filled my lungs and disapated into my blood stream. I felt my heart softening, warming, beating regularly. Painlessly. There was a red stain on the sofa where His back had rested. I don't think I'll bother to have it cleaned.

On the way to my car I spotted the bloody foot steps leading to my house. Footsteps He had left when He came to visit me. I'm sure if I traced the steps they'd lead back to the church, into the sanctuary, up to the alter and the cross behind it where two feet had been pierced with a rusty nail two thousand years ago.

Math. 6:14
Math 9:6
Math 18:21
Math 25:40-45
1 john 3:13-15
1 John 4:20

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