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Resignation, Chapter 36

This is a weekly work of fiction.  You can find the other chapters at my FICTION page.

Dale walked into his study and laid his Bible on his desk.  Melissa had gone into the bedroom to change clothes before preparing lunch.  The kids had gone straight to their rooms and Sunday best would be strewn all over the place, abandoned in favor of their normal clothes so they could head outside to play.  Drew would go outside and shoot basketball for the afternoon, despite the cold, until it was time to eat or come in, whichever came first.  Laura would head out to her playhouse, but she would not be as dedicated to her craft as Drew.  She would play for a short time, then come back in to read.  Dale and Melissa could not keep enough books bought to satisfy her.

Dale walked the short distance from the study to the bedroom.  Melissa had already moved to the kitchen.  Dale hung his jacket up first, knocking off a couple of pieces of lint that he had picked up somewhere along the way.  His tie rack lined up his ties in an order that signified which he wore most often.  One of the great rewards of his sabbatical was that he had not had to wear them as often.  Ties were part of the uniform that he had been wearing for well over a  decade, but that didn’t mean he was unappreciative of the opportunity to wear them less.

Pulling on his sweats, Dale looked around the room.  He and Melissa had spent the past several years there.  Life had become a cycle of routines.  Work.  Events.  Sleep.  Do it again.  Life.  This cycle had been playing itself out since taking the teaching position.  It was comfortable.  They could almost sleepwalk through it.  Each semester new students would enter his life and others would leave.  New kids, new stories, yet they were all the same.  Dale would teach the same classes, the ideas that he loved and the students that he would come to love.  The semester would end, a break would come and then he would do it all over again.  Little variance to it after the first few years.  Yet when he had the opportunity to preach, he came alive to something that he could scarcely explain to anyone. Melissa was perhaps the only one who could understand exactly the difference between the two in him.  Perhaps this is why she had encouraged him to begin the path back to the pastorate.  She loved the security of the teaching, but she had not fallen in love with a professor, she had fallen in love with a preacher.

Dale walked down the stairs to the kitchen.  Melissa was putting the final touches on the sandwiches they were eating for lunch.  He opened up the refrigerator, pulling out the pickles and salsa.  He walked over to the pantry and pulled out four bottles of water.  He set those on the table, one at each place.  Melissa carries the paper plates over and set them at each bottle of water.  Dale moved over and began putting up mayonnaise and mustard.  A couple of knives went into the dishwasher.  A bag of chips appeared and lunch was ready.  Melissa came around the island and hugged Dale.  He could feel her breathing shift as she paused to speak.

“Do you think their done yet?”  Melissa looked up at him with a twinkle in her eyes.  She was looking forward to this as much, if not more, than he was.

“I imagine they are counting the votes now.”  Dale looked down at her.  “I told them that you and the kids wouldn’t spend much time there.  I don’t want to pull you and the kids out of our church and Sunday school.  Not yet.  Not until something permanent comes along.”

Melissa pulled away a bit, looking at Dale with a face that told him he knew what was coming.

“I’ll hear none of that.  Where you’re preaching or pastoring is where we will be.  It doesn’t matter if you call it interim or not.  We’re going to be there with you.”

The force of Melissa’s words hit Dale stronger than he had expected.  He had thought that she would appreciate him not wanting to pull her out of the life they had made for each other.  He had expected her to want to stay put, to not want their boat to be rocked, wanting the routines to stay the same.  Instead , she was looking at this as an adventure, an opportunity to add some zest into their lives, the chance to see what God had in store for them around the next bend.

“Are you sure?  Do you really want to uproot the kids from their lives?”

“Dale, really.  They do this every year in school.  They made go to the same building, but each class is different each year.  They can handle change better than we can.  They will be fine.”

Dale looked out the window and saw Drew drain a three pointer.  He grabbed his rebound, went back to the same spot and shot again. He saw Laura step onto the porch of the playhouse, take her little broom and playfully sweep the porch.  Play was work and work was play for both of his kids just before lunch on a Sunday afternoon.  Dale realized that their lives had more imagination than he had in his life.  They were each pursuing their dream in their own way.  Melissa had helped him decide to pursue this interim pastorate, knowing what he didn’t even know about himself, that he wasn’t pursuing the dream that God had placed in his heart, that even though teaching was worthwhile and rewarding, He had more in store for Dale than that.

“Time to get the kids.  They can play more later.”  Melissa moved toward the door to call them to come in.  Dale could almost hear the groans coming from the driveway and the playhouse.  It was amazing that his kids would rather pursue their passions than even eat.  Had he lost that?

Melissa turned back to him just as his phone rang.  Dale looked at her and Melissa looked at him.  It was David’s number on the caller i.d.

“Are you going to answer that?”, Melissa asked after the third ring.  Dale was just looking at it.  He smiled and nodded.

“Hello?”  Dale called into the phone.

“Dale?  This is David.  We’ve counted the votes.”

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  1. June 22, 2013 at 7:39 am

    I had a suspicion you were going to end it that way you rascal. 🙂

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