Her eyes narrowed in offense but she did reach a hand down to grip the back of the chair for assistance as she slowly lowered herself to the floor. “Maybe not, Melissa” she conceded. “But you all,” she growled, staring down each woman there. “Y’all are still going to hear a piece of my mind!”
Rosa rolled her eyes and then looked at her watch in impatience. “Look, girl, what is all this about? I have to get the twins in half an hour. You might not understand this but between my kids and my husband’s extended deployment I need all the prayer I can get. I don’t see where we have time for your little outburst.”
Tamela laughed harshly. “That’s exactly what I want to talk about!”
“Melissa, honey, do you want me to try to talk to Tamela privately? We have a mixed group here and whatever she is about to unload might not be for all ears.”
I looked in the direction of the softly spoken request and felt an immediate sense of relief when I recognized the gentle face of Jana Harper, Deacon Ronald’s wife and the person that my husband had actually wanted to be the women’s ministry leader. I had selfishly overrode his suggestion because as loveable as Jana was, she was long-winded and what some considered to be out of touch with the times. But she was sweet and patient and that is probably what Tamela needed most.
Before I could graciously grant Jana’s request, Tamela jumped in between us. “No! We’re talking right here and right now. If all of you can go behind my back and complain about me to Pastor, you can all get a chance to tell me your problem with me face to face.”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Jamie slip out the back exit and I inwardly groaned. Wonderful! Months of prayer and encouragement down the toilet.
“Tamela, please! What is with all of the drama!” Jennifer exclaimed. “No one is talking behind your back. Simmer down.”
The other women in the group murmured their agreement with Jennifer and Rosa started tapping her foot.
“O no,” challenged Tamela as she walked toward Jennifer. “So when I approached Pastor Morgan about leading this group, not one of you went up to him and told him about your “concerns about my background,” she angrily used her fingers to emulate the quotation marks as her voice went up in a high falsetto on her last words.
“What background,” asked Rosa, suddenly a little more open to discussion. The woman was extremely nosy.
“Don’t play dumb,” Tamela accused. “You know after my divorce a few years ago I had a problem with the anti-depression meds I was taking but that’s beside the point! I’ve worked my fingers to the bone in this church---cleaning, folding programs, cooking meals for y’all raggedy families when one of you have been sick. I’m apparently good enough for that but not for this?” She waved a hand around the room and the brightly colored decorations I had put up.
I could feel my face grow hot with anger because I knew she was referencing me. Now she had gone too far.
"Phoenix Rising" is a short fiction, 3-part installment series. As the story progresses my prayer is that it will inspire you, reader, to look deeper within yourself and to draw closer to God.
Until the next installment, here is a thought to ponder:
In what ways can we as Christians make someone feel rejected or judged? How does Christ call us to treat one another, especially those that the world might label as "different"?
And a verse to meditate upon:
I Corinthians 1:27
"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;"
Please visit the "Blog discussion" thread in the Forums to post your thoughts on the story so far.