Resurrection 20Posted: November 7, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
J.W. was deep in thought at his desk when the phone jarred him to attention.
“First United Methodist.”
“Hey preacher, what ya into?” It was Tom Sibley.
“Hey, Doc. I’m trying to figure out my sermon for Sunday.” J.W. was glad to hear his friend’s voice. Tom was glad as well.
“I thought you were off this week? Didn’t you already have one?” asked Tom.
“Yeah, well I did, I mean, I do, but after all that’s happened this week my contemplations from The Appalachian Trail might seem a bit anti-climactic.”
“Heh,” Tom chuckled, “I think you’re right.”
“Listen, J.W., I was calling to see if I could buy you lunch, what with you rising from the dead and all. I figure I at least can buy you lunch,” Tom offered.
“That sounds great! You know it’s your turn to buy anyway,” said J.W.
“BJs?” asked Tom.
“Sure, what time Tom?”
“I have a light load today, let’s say noon sharp.” replied Tom.
“See you at noon,” J.W. started to lean forward to say goodbye and hang up the phone.
“One more thing, J.W….I’m glad your home.”
“Aw, you’re gonna make me cry,” joked J.W. “See you at noon. Bye.”
J.W. spent the next hour reading through possible scriptures and thinking through what he might say Sunday. Everyone had been in shock, no one more than Suze, but he hadn’t experienced. He didn’t almost die. He didn’t even get injured. He was trying to think through the emotions his congregation had felt thinking he was dead. Murdered.
“Heck,” mused Tom aloud, “Ben Garrison was probably happy about it.”
Ben Garrison was the head of the Pastor Parish Relations Committee as well as a part of several others. The United Methodist Church has a number of “required” committees, even for small churches, so it’s not unusual to have one member on several committees.
The Pastor Parish Relations Committee was intended to be a group that worked closely with the Pastor to make sure the church took care of the Pastor’s needs, and to make sure the Pastor was responsive to the church’s needs.
Garrison was used to being in control. He browbeat his wife and tried to control even the simple choices of his adult children. He knew the right thing to do and the right way to do it. He didn’t believe in prayer, he believed in work. The idea that J.W. would spend more than a bit of time in prayer was silly. He needed to be out knocking on doors, getting people into the church.
“That’s what we pay him for” he had expressed to more than one parishioner.
J.W. knew the type, but he tried to get along with Ben. When he first took over the parish, J.W. tried to have lunch with Ben at least monthly to build a relationship. Ben saw that as a weakness, a weakness he could exploit.
In the guise of friendship, Ben would come by the parsonage pretending not to know it was J.W.’s day off. “Let’s go knock on some doors.” He would say. When J.W. said Ben needed to come back when it wasn’t his day off, Ben would make his disdain known without saying a word.
J.W. tried to maintain a relationship, but they both recognized they disliked each other. They were cordial, but not friendly. Suzanna privately called Ben “evil” to J.W. She truly believed it.
J.W. thought it was time for a break. Several times a day he would make the small 30 yard jog across the parking lot to see his love Suze and his beautiful Claire. He popped in the kitchen door.
“Hey, Suze,” she was standing at the counter, washing bottles. Like many new mothers her most common attire was baggy sweats.
“Shhhh, she’s sleeping,” Suzanna scolded.
J.W. came up behind her and slid his arms under hers and around her waist. “I love you, Babe,” he said, nuzzling her neck.
She liked the feel of him against her. The way he smelled. The deep resonance of his voice. For just a moment nothing mattered. Not the dishes. Not the lack of sleep. All that mattered was him, holding her, loving her. She closed her eyes.
“That’s nice,” she purred.
Doctor Pettit, the OB-GYN who had delivered Claire had said they could resume marital relations after six weeks, baring any infection or other issue. After they had been home for a couple weeks, they even jokingly marked it on the kitchen calendar with an exclamation point.
But when the day came, Claire had been colicky and neither of them had slept in days. They promised each other that once things improved with Claire, they would have their time.
Another three, almost four, weeks later. They had yet to have their time. J.W. had attempted to initiate a few times, but either Claire would need tending to just as they were getting started, or Suzanna would say she was too tired. “Maybe tomorrow.”
Suzanna missed the intimacy as well. J.W. was her first and only lover, and the way he treated her made her feel amazing. He seemed to reverence her body, even when she was 8 months pregnant. He was gentle and responsive. Loving. She needed that right now.
Suzanna opened her eyes just long enough to shut off the water. J.W. knew the exact spots on her neck where she was most sensitive. She was feeling the warm tingles throughout her body. J.W. moved his hands up from her stomach and began massaging her breasts through the sweatshirt.
“Um, John, you’re gonna soak my bra.” she started to pull his hand away.
“You have others…,” said J.W. “How long ago did you put Claire down?”
“10 minutes.” replied Suzanna breathlessly.
“Good, let’s go upstairs.” J.W. took her hand and led her to the bedroom.
J.W. was going to be late meeting Doc.