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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)

TITLE: Relief
By Lori Othouse


5:28 pm, January 16
Thoughts, fragments really, sift in and out of my mind like commuters through a revolving door. Sometimes I see the whole image, sometimes just bits and pieces. No matter what I remember, though, itís all ugliness. Stupid, selfish actions that are no oneís fault but my own. I thought I was good, protected somehow from the temptations around me just because I wore the label of ďChristianĒ. The correct description would be ďself-righteousĒ. Itís what I had become, only I never knew it until it was too late.

2:17 pm, January 14
I just got off the phone with Krista, my old college roommate. Sheís in town for the weekend and wants to get together tomorrow night. No problem, except I remember how we were, how I was, back then. I know a night out with her means hitting the bar. Not that I have to drink, it just may be difficult to explain how much my life has changed since then. I suppose she would understand, and I sure would enjoy a night out. I told her I would let her know.

4:36 pm, January 15
Itís not easy being a leaderís wife in a large church. So much constant expectationÖfrom all these people that donít even know you. Always having to say the right thing, dress the right way, remember the name and life story of every person youíve ever been introduced to. I try so hard to be all those things, to be what I think I should be. Or maybe itís what everyone else thinks I should be. I donít even remember anymore. All I know is I need some relief. My husband has a leaderís meeting tonight and my daughter is going out with some church friends. Itís the perfect opportunity. I told Krista it was a go. Weíre meeting at Roccoís at 6:00.

6:21 pm, January 15
I knew we would end up sitting at the bar. Itís funny, I feel a certain kind of freedom in being with Krista again. Like someone who knows me but doesnít care how Iím dressed or what I say. Something I havenít felt in a while, actually, and it feels wonderful. I mention church, but she just nods like I mentioned going to the mall. She just ordered what used to be my favorite drink, an Amaretto Sour. After offering me one, I politely refuse, but I can see that look in her eyes. I used to look at people that way. I suppose just a sip wouldnít hurt.

8:46 pm, January 15
Blinking up at the neon beer signs, I smile. I havenít felt this relaxed in years! Krista and I are laughing like a couple of schoolgirls over everything and nothing. I feel that peace Iíve been missing. Itís a good feeling. Suddenly, another feeling overcomes meÖI need to find a bathroom, fast. I stand up a little too quickly and Krista has to catch me before I fall in a heap. We decide we better go together, which for some reason seems extremely funny. Holding each other and singing our college fight song, we make our way down the aisle when I lose my balance again and have to grab a table for support. Looking up to apologize, I freeze. I blink several times in disbelief as I focus on my daughterís horrified face. Sitting with her at the table were three of her friends and our Pastorís wife.

5:58 pm, January 16
The worst part isÖI donít even know what the worst part is. Forever ruining my testimony to my roommate, the enormous humiliation and wretched example to my daughter and her friends, what might happen to my husbandís position within the churchÖirreparable damage done to the people I care about most. All for a little relief that I though I deserved.

7:09 pm, January 16
Iíve been sitting and staring and thinking and thinking and thinking and I have only one conclusion. I would give everything I own to go back and live yesterday over again. But the bottom line is, I canít. Itís done. Itís over. And I just have to live with it somehow. Maybe someday things will be okay again. At least thatís what I keep telling myself.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sally Hanan02/15/08
This sounds like something that an honest confession would fix. I hate how shut in leaders feel at times in a place where there is supposed to be unconditional love.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/16/08
"The worst part isÖI donít even know what the worst part is." You summed up the situation in those words. I like the format you used to tell this.
Patty Wysong02/17/08
You've certainly captured the weight of expectations people in ministry feel. A heavy piece that makes us think.