He stepped into the house and heard the sound of the air conditioner cooling the hallway. It also cooled him and restored strength.
“This way, please. Madam is waiting for you.”
He nodded and followed the maid in uniform down the hall to an office on the left. She opened the door and announced him as she stepped aside for him to enter.
“Thank you.” He said, giving her a smile.
Mrs. Elliot, the Head of the Deacons in the Church they both attended, smiled at him and pointed to the seat before her writing table.
“Please sit, Pastor David. It’s so good of you to visit. Tea?”
Pastor David smiled. “Cold water would do, Deaconess, thank you.”
She pressed a knob on the table by her side and bent her head as she continued reading the book before her. Pastor David decided to wait, as well.
A few seconds later, a soft knock sounded on the door, and the maid entered again.
“Cold water for our guest, please.”
When the door closed, the Deaconess turned to the Pastor again with a smile.
“To what do we owe the pleasure of your visit?”
Pastor David smiled at the question. She always got straight to the point, too busy for shenanigans.
“In my dream, last night, I saw you.” He said, also unwilling to waste her time.
She leaned forward. “Hmm, what was it about?”
“I saw you and Damion.”
She leaned back, and the smile evaporated like water in the desert.
“That name is never mentioned in my presence.”
“Will you listen to the dream? I’ll leave when I’m done.”
She stood. “I’m sorry, but I will not hear anything that concerns that boy. Have a good day.”
He nodded in understanding and stood as well.
“Please, listen for five minutes. I’ll go, and I promise not to talk about Damion ever again.”
She sat. “I respect your position as my pastor, and I will allow this.”
He almost bowed. “Thank you.” He said, taking his seat.
There was another knock, and the drink bearer entered with a tray. She set a glass tumbler before him, on a coaster, and poured water from a glass jug.
“Thank you.” He said, smiling at her as she turned to leave. He took the glass cup and downed the water. He hoped to cool his parched tongue. Done, he set the tumbler down and faced Mrs. Elliot.
“Deaconess, in the dream, you were dying. Damion was by your side, and our savior, Jesus, was on the other hand. They were both pleading with you to avoid the darkness and chose light. Someone else was in your hospital room, crying, the mother of Damion’s child, with a baby in her arms. I couldn’t see faces with clarity, but she seemed to be the one because she stood by his side and away from you.”
Mrs. Elliot lifted a hand. “Stop right there, Pastor. You talk like I am the one in the wrong. I gave that boy the best education by God’s grace. Renowned Pastors tutored him in the things of God, and what does he do? He impregnates a girl left in his care. A small child of eighteen! He, a Master’s degree holder, who was working for his Ph.D.? Are you saying I was wrong in taking the action I did? How else can one cut off evil from good? How else could I show others that I am innocent of such a behavior?”
“I understand, Deaconess. There is a time to punish and a time to forgive. It is time to forgive and to move on from this.”
She shook her head, not looking at him. She was mired in her thoughts, and he didn’t think she heard him.
“The shame, the horrible embarrassment that boy has caused me. I can’t even lift my head in public.” She said, and laughed. Bitterness lined her beautiful face as she looked at him.
“Public? I’ve not left my house in months. I am so ashamed.”
The Pastor leaned forward. “It is time you allow God to judge this matter. I saw you sick on a hospital bed in the dream, and if you feel this way still, I fear for you.”
She stood. “Then why remind me of things best forgotten? Why come here to talk about dreams that don’t help?”
“You may not talk about it, but it doesn’t mean you don’t think about it or that you are not affected by it. You told me yourself you don’t leave the house anymore. That can’t be healthy.”
“How else do I live it down? I, the Deaconess, known most for calling out other people’s children for wrong-doing. I headed women’s groups with efficiency only corporations can boast about, ensuring they maintained their ranks and homes as women of God. I am now the talk of gossipy house-wives. The butt of people’s jokes.” She said and sighed.
“What does God say?”
She smiled—a faraway look in her eye. “One can only guess, Pastor. One can only guess.”
“Deaconess, the God I serve, is a God of light. With Him, there is no darkness or shadow of turning.”
She rested an elbow on the table and put a hand under her chin, focusing on him.
“Damion made a mistake. We understand your anger and need to execute punishment, but won’t we lose him if this continues, soul and all. I met your son once, at the beginning of my work in the Church, and there was an aura of peace around him, I can’t explain it.
“I came here today because of my dream, but I won’t deny that the stories I have heard about you, your son, and the young lady, have troubled me in a big way. The young lady was kicked out of her parent’s home and is living on the streets. Your son is living in a friend’s home, trying to make a living. Is something not wrong with this picture, Deaconess?” He asked, looking up at her.
She was glaring at him. “They should struggle. When you decide to eat the food meant for elders, you do the work meant for them as well.”
“The prodigal was forgiven.”
“What exactly do you want me to do, Pastor?”
“Forgive. Death is also a platform that epitomizes shame, pain, fear, etc. Why don’t we look to the light, where forgiveness, perfect love that casts out fear, joy exist. What has happened, has happened, and we can’t do anything about it, but wouldn’t God want us to do things His way, now that the ball is in our court?”
The Deaconess bowed her head, laying it on the table. The Pastor was about to rise in alarm, thinking she was crying when she sat up and stood.
“Thank you, Pastor, for your visit. I have heard all you have said.”
He looked up at her, still shocked, then collected himself and stood as well.
“Thank you, Deaconess, for your time. God bless you.” He said and made his way to the door.
The door opened from outside, and the maid gestured for him to exit the room. He did; she closed the door behind him and ushered him out.
Three weeks later, Deaconess Elliot came to Church and sought out the Pastor. She found him in a nearby cafe.
“Good afternoon, Pastor. Is that lunch or breakfast?” She asked, trying not to smile at the shock on his face.
He rose from his seat. “Good afternoon, Deaconess. How are you doing today?”
She sat in the seat opposite his. “Sit, Pastor, don’t choke on your food.”
“Yes, ma’am. What brings you out here?” He asked, his food forgotten.
“I came to see Pastor Nathan and to see others in Church. I decided to see you too. I have news.”
He nodded, looking at her.
“My son is back home, with the girl. I came to see if Pastor Nathan would marry them since both are willing.”
“Wow, God be praised!” The Pastor said, his face alive with joy.
“I went back to God, Pastor, you were right. I was slumping around in such darkness, and now I have decided to live. I want my peace back. I want my son back as well, and a grandchild is not all bad.” She said, smiling at him.
“No, Deaconess, it’s not at all. I praise God for you.”
“No, I thank God for you. You spoke the truth in my house that day, ushering in light. I would have still been bound under the chains of the enemy, which I yielded to on my own.” She took his hand and held it, looking into his eyes.
“Thank you, Pastor. May the good Lord bless you.
Till next time, be transformed!!