Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Social Media (12/01/11)
TITLE: HAS ANYBODY SEEN LOUISE?
By Fiona Stevenson
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“Nobody has seen Louise lately!” The reply was harsh and abrupt.
Surprised, Cecily paused before sitting and looked around. Feet shuffled and eyes avoided her questioning look.
“I stopped by yesterday but there didn’t seem to be anyone home. I just wondered ...” Her voice trailed off and she sat, still wondering.
The tension was broken by a chair scraping at the further end of the table. A heavily built woman stood, gathering a batch of papers in one hand, pushing her hair back with the other.
“Well, ladies, I think we’re all here now. If anyone comes in later they’ll just need to catch up with someone who came at the right time.”
Her eyes swept the table. The easing of the earlier tension was tangible. She continued, “Before we start I’d like to welcome Cecily home. It has been a long year’s absence and we have all heard the reports of her work from the mission group. Congratulations, Cecily!” She inclined a small smile in Cecily’s general direction before returning to her sheaf of papers.
“Now, ladies, we have a number of items on the agenda and several matters to clear up this afternoon. Claudia, will you open the meeting in prayer please. We need clarity of mind and an open spirit to accept responsibility for the tasks that need to be done.”
Claudia prayed obediently as directed and the meeting proceeded apace, ably directed by the pastor’s ‘no-nonsense-will-be-accepted’ wife.
Tea and coffee cups were washed and tidied away. The ladies strolled to their cars in chattering groups and twosomes. Claudia linked her arm into Cecily’s as she walked toward the bus stop.
“I’ll drop you home, Cec. It’s really grand to have you back with us.”
Friends since early schooldays, the two conversed easily as Claudia threaded her way through the streets and parked in front of Cecily’s parent’s home. As she turned the key to still the car motor she said, “Before you go, Cec, I want to tell you about Louise. You’ll remember how she was always asking questions, always trying out anything new, never satisfied?”
Cecily nodded. Louise was the third person of their school friendship. In the intervening years the girls’ paths diverged so that they saw each other less often. They seldom telephoned or wrote letters. Their loosely bonded friendship was maintained through infrequent meetings.
“Well,” Claudia was a little hesitant as she considered how best to start. “Some time back she acquired a computer. Most of us did, I suppose. It became the in thing. But for most of us it was just a convenience. For Louise it became an addiction. First it was the internet with its smorgasbord of teaching, not all of it very scriptural. You can imagine how that went down with Pastor and Mrs. Woods! So she dropped out of Bible Study and the Ladies fellowship. Then she found YouTube where she could choose between international preachers and singers, and her church attendance dropped still further. So a couple of the ladies decided to take her in hand. I don’t know what their approach was but I think it would have been better if they hadn’t taken Brenda along. Brenda is a bit of a crusader.” She explained in answer to Cecily’s raised eyebrows.
“I don’t know all that transpired but the consequence was that she ushered them out, explaining quite firmly that she felt she no longer had need of the local church. Through the internet she had all the teaching, preaching and services she could handle. And when someone mentioned fellowship she replied that she had all the fellowship in the world – underlined. Through Facebook and Twitter she could meet with friends anywhere on the globe. She could witness, testify and pray with them and they with her. These days all her social interaction is through Facebook or Twitter. She seldom leaves her home, and she refuses to answer the telephone. She has become totally unsociable. If you want to get in touch with her you will have to go through Facebook or Twitter.”
Cecily pursed her lips and shook her head. “That is so sad, when you think that Louise was the most outgoing of the three of us. It was Louise who matched you up with Bob, and Louise who got me involved with the mission group. And now?”
They held hands and prayed for their friend.
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