Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: LUST (all-consuming desire; excessive craving) (01/08/15)
- TITLE: One Uncontrolled Desire
By Lynda Schultz
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“It’s…it’s my wife. I think she’s dead.”
A bizarre story began to unfold with that call.
He had left her to go for an early morning run, he said. She was tired, and had decided not to go with him. He encouraged her to relax, take a bath, and rest. She was 20 weeks into her first pregnancy.
The autopsy revealed that Marissa Jordan’s* system was laden with Lorazepam®, a drug used to treat anxiety disorders. It was a medication Marissa, would not, should not, have taken. She was successfully handling a life-long liver ailment for which the drug was contraindicated. Her doctor had not prescribed it. But her husband, Rick,* as a nurse in a seniors’ residence, had access to it.
Marissa embraced life with enthusiasm. Excited about the coming child, she named her “Jellybean Jordan.” She worked evenings and weekends to supplement the income she received from her day job so that she could finish a university degree. Her friends considered her a “saint,” with a ready shoulder for anyone to cry on.
It was unfortunate that Magda Sinclair* had chosen Rick’s shoulder to cry on rather than Marissa’s. If she had, the story might have ended differently.
Rick Jordan had trained as a nurse. But he had also received theological training and once he graduated had accepted a position as a pastor in a small church in the heart of an ethnically diverse neighbourhood.
Magda came to the church, as many people do, because of a need in her life. She arranged for a meeting with the pastor to discuss her situation and to get advice on what she should do to resolve it.
In a small church with only one staff member, checks and balances must come from within, the product of a commitment to follow Christ and obey Him at all costs. The innocence of an interview between a pastor and a member of his congregation can test the strength of those checks and balances. In the case of Magda and Rick, it did.
But the walls had already been breached. Rick had a dirty secret, an addiction to pornography which he indulged both in the privacy of his office and in his home. Now, what he had only imagined via the computer screen, he needed little urging to practice in real life, with Magda as a willing partner.
Sexual fantasies are not hard to keep secret, but extramarital affairs are a different matter. The church discovered what Rick and Magda were doing, and forced Rick to resign. He returned to nursing. Marissa, magnanimous as always, forgave him. She hoped that their marriage could be saved. Rick went for counseling and promised his counselor that the affair was ended. It wasn’t.
When funeral arrangements had to be made, Rick was asked if he was considering a double plot where one day his early remains would lie beside those of his wife and unborn child. He replied that he was considering remarriage so a double plot would not be necessary. He was observed, with Magda, having sex in the back seat of a car shortly after his wife’s death.
Rick was charged with first-degree murder. How had a prescription drug gotten into Marissa’s system, one that hadn’t been prescribed and was contraindicated by her condition? Why did Rick, a nurse with access to, and an understanding of the drug, leave his wife alone to take a bath under the influence of medication that causes sleepiness and loss of balance? Why did he not pull her out of the bathtub and try to revive her, even after being given instructions by the 911 dispatcher?
The enormity of this tragedy cannot be measured. One uncontrolled desire was all it took to bring about the deaths of a woman and her child, devastate a church, blackened the reputation of believers, bring shame to the name of Christ, and forever scar the lives of friends and families associated with those involved. But Rick and Magda, whose actions were responsible for the carnage, are also victims—victims of that one uncontrolled desire, hatched by Satan, hugged and then harvested by the sinful human heart.
* Names have been changed.
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