A Friend in Need (22)
I’ve heard it said that love is not a fight, but it’s worth fighting for. All the hormones in my body were screaming to me that Maria was my wife-to-be. The only thing that remained was for God to approve of my plans. And, why wouldn’t He? Why wouldn’t she want to be wife? Why couldn’t she be? As much as I knew, she was born again and Spirit-filled. Apart from the vibrancy of her spiritual life, she was comely and well-mannered. In her official mood, I often had to restrain her from kowtowing every time she greeted me. She was even more attractive that Debby. Everything looked perfect from a distance. She’ll make a good wife. I mused.
I’ve known and worked with several ladies but I was sure Maria was the one. Although it looked subnormal to expect God to rubber-stamp my decision, I was bent on giving it a shot while keeping just an inch of an open mind. All I needed to go ask for her hand in marriage was the weeniest signal of affirmation from God—even if it’s just a deep impression in my mind. However, if God’s response wasn’t going to be positive, I would need more than just a thought. He would have to convince me with solid reasons on why Maria couldn’t be my wife. In the meantime, I needed to mark her like a lion demarcates its territory. There must be a way to, with my silence, make a statement loud enough to tell Tayo he was trespassing.
Sister Maria was a worker in the church, and I was her leader—her pastor. That was an advantage I could exploit to foster relationship with her. I felt the Holy Spirit caution my intentions but I excused it away as ‘harmless’. I didn’t want to tell her anything about my feelings for her until I felt God releasing me to do so. Tayo, on the other hand, had no such authority over her. After all, he was just a member of the church to her. Or, so I thought.
Immediately after the Sunday service the following week, Sister Maria came with the report for the service as usual.
“Greetings to you, man of God.” She said as she walked into the office.
“I greet you too, Woman of God.” I said with a brusque laughter. I quickly rehearsed my plan in my head.
“Today’s message was a powerful reawakening. I pray your oil never runs dry.”
“Amen.” I said, joining my hands together in a praying way. I received the report from her while she waited for my comment or question. Her work was almost always perfect; so, most of the time, I just commended her and she left. But, today was different.
“Do you mind siting down, Sister Maria?”
“No, I don’t.” She drew a chair to sit in as she goggled at me. “Is something wrong? Did I make a mistake in the—”
“No. Not at all. It’s not about the report at all.” I cut in. “The report is credible, as always. I just want to have a short discussion with you. I hope you’re not in a hurry.”
“No, not really in a hurry. Though there’s someone outside who wants to see me, but he can wait. When your pastor wants to see you, every other person has to wait.” She said half-jokingly.
“I think you should see the person who’s waiting to see you first. I understand and I’ll be here when you return. She may not understand why you delayed her.” I persuaded her to go so I could calm my racing heart without her noticing.
“No.” She said, waving the idea away. “It’s a ‘he’, and he’ll understand. He’s your friend, Brother Tayo.” Tayo? I wondered. Well, she just opened a door for the discussion.
“Oh, I see. I notice you two have had so much to talk about recently.” I quickly chipped in.
“Yes. We both made an astonishing discovery lately.”
“Really? Tell me about it.”
“We just discovered that our mothers were childhood acquaintances. Funny, isn’t it?” She laughed as she waived it off again like it was nothing.
“Are you kidding me?” I asked with curiosity. “Tell me more.”
“There’s not much to say now. I told him about it and he was as surprised as I was when I first heard it too.”
“And how did you happen upon such information that concerns his mother?” I was beginning to sound intrusive. I felt it within myself but I couldn’t shake off such information.
“That would be during a mother-daughter talk, if I may say.” That was the least satisfactory answer, yet it was all she was willing to say. “But, let’s leave that for now; I believe there are more pressing issues at hand. You said you wanted to talk to me about something. What was that?”
“Erm. Erm.” I stammered a few times before recovering what I prepared to say. “It’s probably not as serious as you think it is. It is just a message of encouragement that you should continue serving the Lord as you have been doing, maybe even more. Discouragement is one of the most potent tools the enemy uses against believers on the journey to heaven and in God’s service, but when we put our trust in God, we can rest assured that He is able to carry us through.”
I paused to allow that sink in while observing her countenance. Then I continued, “No matter the challenges we face or hard times we experience, the Scriptures affirm that God is faithful and will always be there for us.”
“Thank you so much, Pastor Femi. I really needed to hear that. That is a personal message for me this beautiful Sunday morning. Thank you for being a blessing sir.” She shifted in her chair, as she prepared to leave.
“You are welcome.” I stood up too. “If you feel like you need someone to talk to, remember I’m just a phone call away.”
“Yes sir.” She smiled affectionately. “That’s one of the things I like about you—your care and concern for the people you lead. I’m sure you’ll make a fulfilled minister if you eventually become a pastor.”
“When that time comes, we’ll see.” I returned her smile and saw her off to the door. “Have an amazing week ahead, sister.”
“And you too, pastor.” She shut the door after her.
I was motionless behind the door for minutes—thinking. Did she just say she liked me? And she said it was one of the things she liked about me. That means there must be others. Or was she just messing with my mind? Train of thoughts galloped through the rails of my mind until my phone rang to bring me back into the consciousness of my environment. It was my dad calling. Since he heard the news of Tayo’s experience, his calls have been more frequent than ever. I tell him a lot but I haven’t told him anything about Maria. Maybe I should discuss it with him.
To be continued…