© 2015 by Larry Nevenhoven
Nothing removed stress like a brisk walk, or so my wife assured me the next morning after she trotted downstairs in her light blue sweat suit and white jogging shoes. She grabbed my hand and pulled me to my feet. Her idea was not even on my radar screen at the time. I wanted to study the early church in the book of Acts.
“Do I need to change my clothes so we’re a matched twosome?” I asked, raising my eyebrows.
“Oh no, you don’t! You’re not slinking off to avoid exercise,” she replied. “Your jeans, white t-shirt, and walking shoes look okay to me.”
I grabbed my old San Diego Padres baseball cap, which had been shaped by seven years of wear and sweat. It fit my head like an old friend. We walked out the front door past the pots of succulents, bushes, flowers, and under the rose-covered arbor to the sidewalk and turned left.
“Not so fast. You wore me out yesterday with your long return kiss and the etcetera afterward.”
“I loved the etcetera,” she said, grabbing my hand and squeezing it gently. “Maybe I should get upset with you more often.”
We walked past Mrs. Hedgecock’s petunias, which lined the left side of the sidewalk and the walkway to her home. The eighty-eight year old widow weeded the flowers on a daily basis and sometimes twice a day if it rained. Their reds, pinks, whites, and blues added a rich palette of vibrant hues to our community.
At the corner of Preece Lane, we turned right and headed down hill. My knees tightened up as we continued the brisk pace.
“Have you had any thoughts about our conversation with Ginny last night?” Jane asked.
“I finally concluded that she loves us and probably asked the questions we would have asked her if our roles were reversed.”
“That’s how I also figure it, but one thing still bothers me.”
“Her words about turning our backs on our friends of thirty years.”
“Yeah, but do you remember how we felt when the Adams family switched to the Holy Apostolic Church? We felt hurt and betrayed, but we did try to hold our friendship together for a while. Now, we don’t even send them Christmas cards anymore. It’s tough when you’re in a different religious loop.”
We then remained quiet until we reached Ynez Road and turned right. The light on Santiago Road blinked green up ahead of us.
“How will we fellowship with other believers?” she asked, letting go of my hand as she pumped her arms for the uphill climb. Our speed slowed a little, but not much.
“That’s something we discussed in our Three Amigos’ meeting yesterday at Starbucks.”
“Tell me about it.”
I told her everything that Phil, Vinnie, and I talked about in our two-hour conversation.
“Home church? You’re thinking about starting a home church?” she asked when I finished.
She stopped and looked up at me. An overhanging eucalyptus tree shaded us from the 9 a.m. sunlight. The temperature was nearing eighty degrees already.
“I need to be honest with you, okay?”
“Okay,” I said through clenched teeth.
“I really hoped this would only be a short-term sabbatical for us or that Pastor Rick would offer you a church position of some sort, but whatever, I really don’t want to leave Jedidiah Smith Community Church.”
“Yeah, I guessed that.”
She reached up and softly touched my face with her right hand.
“But if you’re starting a home church, I’ll be right there with you. We have forty-five years together and that’s not going to change over a few pews and a pulpit.”
I kissed her.
She returned my kiss and then broke it off.
“Is this going to become a habit with us again? If so, I like it.”
I didn’t answer, but my sails billowed in the wind, searching for the open sea.
When we returned home, Jane went upstairs. I walked into my office and clicked the power button for my MacBook Pro. I began researching the early church.
Jane came downstairs sixty minutes later, wearing cream-colored slacks and a blue top. She had her tan purse looped over her shoulder and car keys in hand.
“Where’re you going?” I asked.
“Out to brunch with Faye and Gracie.”
“Now, it’s our turn to talk about home church.”
She left and I sat there for five minutes, staring at the closed six-panel door. What was I thinking about? Nothing really. Her words shocked me.
(A new work of fiction still in the early stages. If you’re interested, you can see the full story so far here.)
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