Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SLOTH (indolence; laziness) (01/29/15)
TITLE: Maizie Sotherland
By Trace Pezzali
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During breakfast, Maizie scanned the newspaper. She gave a small whoop of delight at her submission in ‘Letters to the Editor’, and snipped out the article for her scrapbook. She filled in competitions she came across, completed most of the crossword puzzle, and highlighted programs to watch in the TV guide. This busyness: comfort for a guilty conscience.
Startled at the time, Maizie lumbered from the table. The newspaper offcuts and breakfast debris could be cleaned up later.
No time to fuss over her appearance. She pulled on a wrinkled but clean rayon dress. The stockings had a small run in them; they’d have to do. In the bathroom she smeared on lipstick, and pulled a comb through her hair.
Maizie felt hot and sticky on her short walk to St Anthony’s. The day was too humid for her liking. She stopped once to speak with a lady sweeping her porch; had she noticed the house eaves were full of leaves? At the rude reply, Maizie retorted it was fine by her if there was water damage after winter.
Once at the church hall, when her eyes had adjusted to the dim interior, Maizie noticed several ladies were setting up for the fete. She assessed the decorations: the bunting hung awkwardly, the streamers were unevenly bunched.
Maizie called out as she hurried over to the Parish Secretary: “Hi Adeline, I can tell I’m here not a moment too soon! Why… that bunting needs to come down –"
Smiling coolly in greeting, Adeline launched into orders: “Can you grab that box of preloved items and sort it out onto the table there? They’ll need $1, $2 and $5 stickers.”
Maizie’s smile dropped instantly. “Actually, I’d prefer to -"
“Maizie, please.” The secretary continued to arrange the baked goods for the food stall.
Grumbling, Maizie slowly unpacked the box. She considered each item before pricing. Those she wanted, she marked for $1 and placed aside to collect later. Itching to vent, she abandoned her post and bustled over to the amateur artist arranging canvasses and easels.
“Hi Jenny Wren!” She greeted, glancing at the paintings. “Oh dear, those landscapes are dreary! I wonder if you’ll sell any.” Conspiratorial with the unresponsive parishioner, Maizie continued: “That Adeline - giving orders! My fears against employing an outsider were justified. Why, I heard Richard insisted she be hired. Insisted! Now, why would that be?”
There was a deep cough behind her and Maizie whirled around. Cutting an imposing figure, Father Stephen smiled and requested she come to his office for a chat. “Ms Sotherland, how are you?” the priest asked once they were seated. Maizie relished attention and launched into a series of complaints. Father Stephen interrupted her. “Have you spoken with your sister yet?”
Maizie grimaced. “I know what the right thing to do is - but I don’t WANT to look after her.” She shuddered at the idea of caring for her sister with Multiple Sclerosis.
Father quoted memorised scripture: “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” He leaned forward. “This will bring meaning and direction to your life, and leave less time for gossip.” He raised his hand at her indignant protest, “Now, Ms Sotherland, listen to me. I’ve noticed you cause dissension with your words. That’s not fitting to a Christian woman.”
Flustered, Maizie got to her feet. “Well, I never!”
“We’ve not finished our conversation, Ms Sotherland. Please sit down.”
Meekly, she sat.
“Apostle Paul warns us about those who walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. We are commanded and encouraged in the Lord Jesus Christ to do our work quietly and earn our own living. But let me inspire you, Maizie. Not neglecting to do good, and sharing what you have, are sacrifices pleasing to God. This is a great opportunity for you.”
After a pause, Maizie asked sullenly, “Can I go now?” The priest looked at her awhile longer, but Maizie avoided his gaze. He dismissed her wearily.
She marched from his office, looking neither left nor right as she stormed from the hall.
“Well!” She declared, blinking in the sunlight, “I know exactly what my decision’s going to be!”
Scripture: James 4:17; 2 Thes 3:11-12; Heb 13:16 ESV
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