I needed comfort and compassion; he offered only coldness and cruelty. “The Apostle Paul was clear,” he was saying as I reeled from his verbal blows, “deacons are to be the husbands of one wife. “
“I like things neat and tidy,” he replied, “I’ll expect your written resignation by next Sunday. We’ll start the replacement process the following week.”
I didn’t know whether to scream or cry. I was angry at his callous and cavalier attitude. I was deeply saddened by the double whammy of losing my wife and my ministry in one fell swoop. I walked away to avoid saying something I’d later regret.
Sitting in church the next Sunday, my deacon resignation letter in hand, I noticed Brother Larry’s wife Sarah sitting on the front row. She seemed tired, gaunt, almost sickly.
As we all stood to sing a hymn, my eyes remained on Sarah Kershaw. Her personality was a stark contrast to his — where he was confident, loud and brash, she was mild-mannered, quiet and cautious.
That means nobody who’s divorced
The thought crossed my mind, as I sang and watched, that she almost seemed to blend into the background — not just here and now, but in church life generally. The spotlight was always on Brother Larry, whereas Sarah was always in the shadows. I suspected he liked it that way.
Another realization that struck me was that Sarah was an extremely attractive woman. She did her best to hide it. She wore no makeup or jewelry. She did little to fix up her hair. She wore extremely high necklines, not daring to show cleavage. Her skirts and dresses never ventured above her knees. Yet, somehow, she exuded a quiet, innocent allure.
Her loose-fitting clothes could not completely disguise her slim hips and ample breasts. Her arms and calf muscles were toned and athletic. Her dark auburn hair was certainly God’s gift rather than the product of a Clairol or L’Oreal bottle. Her clear, natural complexion was nearly flawless, save for a few endearing freckles sprinkled across her nose and cheeks. And her green eyes belied a spirit and spark much greater than she had yet displayed while operating within her husband’s shadow.
“Please take your seats,” Brother Larry’s voice boomed from the podium, stirring me out of my reverie. The music was over, and I was among the stragglers still standing. My eye caught Sarah’s as she turned to sit. Her sad, tired countenance showed an immediate reflection of my own pain. She tilted her head and pursed her lips in an empathetic gesture.
Half an hour later, after sitting through another of Larry’s scorched-earth sermons, I waited patiently for other congregants to finish telling him what a wonderful message he’d given. When the coast was clear, I handed him my letter. He read it and said, “I’ll handle it from here.” No thanks for services rendered, no expressions of sympathy for a dashed marriage, no words of wisdom for dealing with the pain — he had what he needed, transaction complete.
As I walked toward the back to leave the building, a hand tapped my shoulder. I turned and was pleasantly surprised to see Sarah Kershaw’s attractive countenance. She bore a look of concern. “I heard about you and Tricia,” she offered, “I know it’s none of my business, but. “
She left the thought hanging. I knew she didn’t know what to say, but wanted to show her concern. There were others in the church for whom the same words as Sarah’s would have been tantamount to asking for the juicy details. Not Sarah Kershaw. She was definitely not the gossipy kind.