The closet was cramped. And, speaking of cramps, one was forming in my calf. I tried not to think of the dust bunnies hopping their way onto my clothes, or the spiders likely lurking in the corners. I ignored the whisk broom poking into my back and the vacuum cleaner pressing against my thigh. These things were inconvenient but were a small price to pay, considering.
Melinda Witherspoon was after me again. When I heard my husband pick up the phone and say, “Oh, hi, Melinda. Yes, I think Sharon is around here somewhere...” I bolted to the broom closet and shut myself in. I know it sounds absurd – especially for a grown woman – that I was hiding from a telephone. But you'd hide, too, if you knew the woman on the other end of it.
Not long ago Melinda cornered me in the grocery store and before I could refuse, she was thanking me for agreeing to head up the school carnival. It ended up disastrous. I ordered the wrong games, the clown showed up in womens' clothing (it was a male clown) and the cotton candy machine went haywire, spewing out sticky blue and pink goo all over the floor, the prize table and the principal.
And that’s nothing. I won’t even go into what happened when I was tricked into helping with the pancake breakfast.
What I couldn’t figure out was why Melinda continued to hunt me down when I am clearly not cut out for this volunteer thing.
From inside the closet, I heard the muffled sound of my husband calling my name. Then the creak of the back door opening. Then a slam. He’d obviously gone outside to look for me. I am ashamed to admit I didn’t even feel the least bit sorry at the thought of Melinda hanging on the line. I felt most guilty about my husband searching high and low for his lunatic wife, who was huddled in a three by three broom closet, risking spider bites to escape the likes of a harmless (however annoying) woman.
Opening the door a crack, I peered out through the slit, considered coming clean then retreated back inside. Leaning my head back against the vacuum, I said a prayer, which came out more as a complaint. “Lord, why me? I stink at volunteering. It’s just not my calling. Every time I get suckered into helping out, I mess it up. Tell Melinda to find someone else.”
Suddenly, I was blinded by a ridiculously bright light and a voice boomed out, “SHARON!”
I focused my eyes and smiled sheepishly up at my husband. Maybe because he was used to my antics, but probably because he didn’t want to know, he kept his questions to himself and just held out the phone.
“It’s for you.”
I stood and brushed myself off, then briefly massaged my calf muscle before taking the phone. I watched my husband walk away, mumbling to himself.
So I’d like to end by saying that I came out of my corner (or broom closet, as it may be) and stood up to Melinda. That I gathered my courage and just said no. Well, I tried, but that didn’t stop Melinda from coercing me into helping out with the Teacher Appreciation dinner.
After those few moments in the closet, I did realize something. Melinda wasn’t the only one that was after me. God was pursuing me too - He still is. Actually, I think He’s even more persistent than Melinda because, against my natural instincts, I am beginning to find volunteering...gulp...fun! (did I really just say that?) I am proud to report I made it through the Teacher Appreciation dinner with only one mishap, which is a new record for me. Without going into detail, let's just say that one teacher may not have appreciated his appreciation dinner.
Anyway, I sense that God was silent that day in the broom closet because He was teaching me to stop being such a whiny, selfish brat who only thinks of herself. Instead of panicking at the thought of volunteering, I should look for ways to help out, even if (okay, when) I make mistakes along the way.
Who knows? One day I may even pick up the phone and find myself dialing Melinda’s number.
That broom closet has seen the last of me. That is, unless my mother-in-law happens to call. But that's a whole other story...
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