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Friday, February 28, 2014

February 28: THE FAMILY WAY

      When Todd came back from a lunch he couldn't eat, he found Pastor Glenn waiting in his office in the chair facing his desk. For two seconds, Todd felt tempted to turn around and run. Maybe leave word at the main desk that he was taking the rest of the day off. That impulse made no sense. Why would he be afraid to talk to the senior minister of his church? Maybe it was the somber expression Pastor Glenn wore, the frown wrinkles around his mouth and creasing his forehead. Something made Todd think the reason for this visit, especially without an appointment, couldn't be good. Then Pastor Glenn raised his head from contemplation of his hands and saw Todd standing in the doorway.      "Hi." Todd swallowed hard and stepped around to sit down at his desk. "What can I do for you, Pastor? Finally decided to get that software system I offered to design for the church? It'll do everything but fix the plumbing and mow the lawn."      "No thanks, Todd. We prefer to employ fallible people at the church. The human touch." Pastor Glenn smiled, but his usual rumbling chuckle was missing. "I just came from seeing Lisa at the hospital."      "How bad is she?" His voice caught.      "Just three stitches to close it up. Because it was her head, they made her stay for observation. She'll probably be home waiting for you tonight."      "Probably." He knew that was the key word. "What do I need to do?"      "Talk to me, Todd. Karla says you pushed Lisa, so she hit her head. Lisa wouldn't tell me anything. Your sister wants to report it to the police."      "It was an accident," Todd whispered.      "I believe you. Why did you miss your counseling session? That just makes last night's injury all the more serious. You wouldn't have scheduled counseling in the first place if there wasn't some problem. For you to miss without any explanation… What am I to think?"      "It was an accident." The repetition sounded lame and the chuckle caught in his throat. "I got called out of town for an emergency."      "You didn't tell Lisa. The fact that she was caught unawares says something about the value you placed on the appointment… and, I'm sorry to say, on her. She waited at church. She didn't say anything, but the hurt in her eyes spoke volumes."      "I didn't mean to -- I left a note, but she didn't find it."      "Todd, things like missing counseling sessions and going out of town for a few days aren't things you leave to notes. Believe me, as someone who has had to leave the house for emergencies at all hours of the day and night, your wife would much rather lose a few hours of sleep and be told face-to-face, rather than read about it in a note. Or worse, hear about it from someone else."      "I know." He felt like he had when the coach scolded him about cheating in basketball.      "You know, but you don't act on it. Todd, your wife is the sweetest, most giving person I've met in a long time. You have to put her through an inquisition to find out anything about her life -- she never puts herself into the limelight. A lot of people in our church love her because she's so giving and supportive. They'd be horrified if your marriage fell apart. Lisa wants this marriage to work. The question is, do you?"

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