‘Hurry up, Jenn!’
Simone’s voice echoes along the passage, through to the kitchen.
‘You’re taking ages. It can’t be that hard!’
It might not be hard for them. It doesn’t seem to be when it’s their turn, but it is hard for me.
Some things are private – not made to be shared. Other things are public – I want to share them with everybody. Some things, regrettably, have to be broken down into small pieces before they can be shared.
I spent ages thinking about my special offering for our girl’s night. My quest took me all over town and by the time the week was up my little four cylinder had consumed a tank of fuel. This morning I made my choice and it’s been nagging at me all day. Can I do this? Can I really do this?
My hand strayed to the wrapper. I remembered, just in time, the first Bible verse I’d had to memorize. I muttered the Jenn Revised Non-standard Version, ‘No temptation has overtaken me that is not common to everyone, but God is faithful and will not let me be tempted but with the temptation will provide a way of escape that I might be able to endure it.’
‘OK, I’m waiting…. An escape plan right now would be a good idea.’
No voice booming from the heavens. No angel with blazing sword pointing me in the right direction.
‘Do you need any help?’
‘No, Simone.’ I rush to answer lest she enter the kitchen and guess my predicament.
‘Right, then the countdown starts now.’
’Ten,’ they chorus. Three female voiced raised in mocking harmony. ‘Nine.’
My heart beats. I have prepared all morning for this. I can do it. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
‘Give me strength!’
I wash my hands thoroughly.
Dry each finger with care.
I arrange the unopened offering on my favourite platter.
‘Everything in my nature screams out against this.
They are getting insistent. Fists are hammering in time on my rosewood table.
With shaking hands, I place a brand new tea towel over the offering. Where is my way out?
I carry the platter and its contents into the dining room.
‘One!’ They yell triumphantly.
A tear rolls down my face as I place the platter next to my full coffee cup. I so do not want to do this. But I have no choice, it is my turn and I am bound by the rules of our group.
I slowly pull back the tea towel.
They gasp in amazement.
I unwrap the offering.
Their eyes are wide with anticipation.
Simone is almost drooling. ‘You’ve outdone yourself this time, babe.’
Appreciative murmurs fill the room.
Briefly I close my eyes. It is all too much. I must act. I must do something. Please, Lord, give me the strength.
With swift movements I destroy the symmetry of my offering. Breaking it into small pieces. The girls are stunned to silence by the violence of my act.
When I pass around the platter they reach out tentative hands, unsure about taking a broken piece of my offering.
But it is done now. The act cannot be reversed.
The two pound block of the best quality, mixed whole nuts and dark chocolate that I want so much to eat all by myself has been broken and shared, as it should be, as it was made to be.
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