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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)

TITLE: Can We Talk?
By Kate Oliver Webb


Does a grunt qualify as conversation?

Jake obviously thinks so. That’s what he says when I say, “Good morning, Luv.” I guess I’ve become used to that particular morning routine and hardly think of it anymore.

Now, we’ve discussed this, Jake and I. We’ve agreed that a conversation is an exchange of ideas, opinions, thoughts, information—and those usually expressed orally. I mean, we agreed.

What occasioned this particular exercise in futility just this last Sunday evening, was that I heard some rather important information from our church’s worship leader about getting a new pastor. Now, consider it: my husband, Jake Adams, has been second-in-command (so to speak), his official title being Pastor of Church Administration, for over five years. Did Jake happen to think to mention this matter to me?


When I asked him why, he gave me this convoluted explanation with which, by the time he had finished, I was actually nodding my head in agreement—like a bobble-head 2010 version of a Stepford Wife.

He said, as near as I can recall: “Sweetie, you know how close I feel you are to me. So close, that we really are one. And somehow I feel that closeness so much that I assume that whatever I know, you already know, so I don’t even think to mention things to you. You do understand that, don’t you?”

“But Jake” (I hate it when I start to sound whiney), “getting a new Senior Pastor is rather important news, don’t you think?”

“So, who told you?” The best way to redirect a conversation you don’t wish to have is to answer a direct question with a direct question. Jake was a positive guru at this.

I absolutely refused to get sucked into that one.

“So James is leaving this month?” (I learned from a master.)

Time was when I felt intimidated by this sort of conversation with Jake. I always felt that, with his important position and all, I had no right to interfere in his business. Then I realized that he woke up in the morning with bad breath same as everybody else, and I kept his dirty socks washed and his shirts pressed. And he was the one who continually claimed our “oneness.”

“Better sit down, Betts,” he said, patting the loveseat where he sat rocking nervously.

This didn’t sound good. However, what was good was that we were having what Merriam-Webster would call “an informal discussion of an issue by representatives of governments, institutions or groups.” That was us, all right.

“I do need to know who you heard it from, because James didn’t want anyone knowing about it until he was ready to share the situation behind it. Corinne has cancer. Pancreatic cancer. She’ll be having intensive treatments at a special cancer facility down south, and he wants to be close by. It’s also close to where their daughter’s family lives, so he’s going to have support, and can stay with them as long as he needs to. They’re hopeful that it won’t be more than a few months, maybe six at the most, and then he’ll come back and pick up here where he left off. The ‘new pastor’ we’re getting is coming temporarily; it’s been agreed.”

“Jody told me,” I whispered, trying not to sob. I had always been so close to James and Corinne; she and I are kindred spirits. I wondered why she hadn’t mentioned it to me, and in fact, experienced a hurt not just for her illness, but because she hadn’t felt she could confide in me. I said as much to Jake.

“I’m sure she just doesn’t know how to approach it with you. That kind of conversation isn’t easy, you know. And she hasn’t said anything to anyone else that I know of. I assume Jody’s cousin told her” (said cousin being the church’s custodian and not known for his zipped lips). “I think she’d like it if you’d give her a call tomorrow, and take her to lunch. They’re leaving Friday.”

Jake and I extended our conversational circle to include the Lord, as we took James and Corinne’s needs to Him. It was a relief to cast that particular burden on Jesus.

I lay awake quite some time that night, giving great thought to the conversation I would have with Corinne the next day. I prayed especially that God would use me for her healing and support, asking Him to speak to her, face to face, through me.

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This article has been read 471 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Heywood10/22/10
Nice story. I found myself empathizing with your MC, since, I, too, am married to grunter who assumes I can read his mind at times.

Good writing!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/24/10
You started out so light and even funny. I was surprised by where you took me. That's a great compliment as I don't get surprised easily. You did a fantastic job with such a sobering subject.
Laury Hubrich 10/24/10
You made me cry. I can't imagine a good friend not sharing information with me like this. I can't imagine a good friend going through anything like this, either. ugh. Nice entry. Really.
Colin Swann10/26/10
Interesting story and very well written. Keep writing this good stuff!
Caitlyn Meissner10/26/10
This was good! I enjoyed it. I'm glad there are people besides myself who have a hard time carrying on conversations. ;)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/28/10
Congratulations for placing 8th in level 4 and 18th overall!
Carol Penhorwood 11/10/10
I can so relate to this one. I also live with a man of few words who usually responds, "Oh, didn't I tell you?" :) You made this entertaining and poignant at the same time, something that is hard to do.