“Shut the front curtains; lock the door,” called Charlotte to her daughter. “I see Helen headed this way.”
Katie looked up briefly from her book. “That’s not nice, Mom. She’s so needy.”
Charlotte sighed heavily. “Oh, I suppose you are right; although, I don’t see you entertaining her.”
Katie smiled and went on reading.
Two raps on the front door and then Helen pushed it open and breezed into Charlotte’s kitchen.
“Mornin’! Am I in time for coffee?” Helen plopped down at the kitchen table. “So, Ellie called last night. She is doing great at Stanford. Sure wish her father had stuck around to see her successes. I still don’t know why he left. Oh well. I see your daffodils are coming up. You should have planted them a little farther apart. Wish I had gotten some planting done last fall. Oh well, maybe this year. Goodness … you have quite a mess on your hands in the kitchen this morning. Did you have a party last night?”
Helen chattered on cheerily for fifteen minutes before realizing that once again Charlotte had not offered her any coffee and was not listening to her one-way conversation. She fell silent for a few seconds before pushing away from the table. “Well, I best be on my way. I have a lot of things to do today.”
Charlotte gave Helen a barely perceptible nod, and then Helen was out the door.
45 minutes later, Helen rapped on the door to Reverend Michael’s office and then pushed it open without an invitation.
“Uh, good morning Helen. I’m very busy here today… .” Michael’s voice drifted into silence as he perceived that Helen planned on staying awhile. He sighed audibly. “So, is there a problem?”
“I’m thinking of leaving the church.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. What seems to be the problem?”
“Everyone is just so unfriendly. Like Charlotte for instance. When I was at her home this morning … I visit her most mornings … well, she hardly even acknowledges my presence!”
Helen continued in this vein for several minutes while Michael’s vision became increasingly unfocused. She finally lapsed into silence.
“Helen, I have a verse from Proverbs I would like you to consider.” He thumbed through a Bible and handed it across the desk to her. “Read right here, Proverbs 25:17,” pointing out an underlined verse.*
Helen eagerly picked up the book and read the verse the Reverend indicated. She paused, and then set the Bible back on the desk, quietly stood up and walked out of the office without a word. Reverend Michael considered going after her to try and reason with her. Instead, he said a silent prayer that the Holy Spirit would lovingly teach Helen a hard truth that she badly needed to learn.
*Proverbs 25:17, NASB: “Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor's house, or he will become weary of you and hate you.”
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