Valerie tossed her dishtowel toward the sink, cradling the phone between her ear and her shoulder as she wrestled with the bowl she had been drying.
“Hi, Chris. How are you?”
“I’m not sure. I’m fine—I think, but I just did something totally wild,” came a voice at once nervous and exultant.
“What’s up?” Valerie put the bowl down on the counter and, pulling a kitchen chair out, sat down. This sounded like it could take a while.
“I just locked Sarah and Bonnie in the shed.”
For a second, the world held its breath.
“You did what?”
Sitting was a good idea, thought Valerie. Otherwise, she might have fallen over. Sarah and Bonnie barely exchanged pleasantries when they met. They tried not to meet, but in a small church, it was hard to avoid the occasional contact.
“I locked …”
“Yes, I heard that, but what on earth did you do that for?”
“They need to talk to each other and sort out their issues, and since they wouldn’t do it on their own, I decided to help facilitate their reconciliation.”
“Facilitate their reconciliation? By locking them in the shed?”
“It will force them to face their problems and communicate with each other.”
That theory had some holes, but Valerie’s curiosity about the shed won out over logical, or illogical, conclusions.
“How did you get them both into the same shed at the same time?” Valerie asked.
“Well, you know how they both admire those old gardening tools that I have out there. They are both into shabby chic. So I invited them to come out and have a look.”
“They came together?”
If they had, that would have been a small crack in the ice wall that existed between the two women. Maybe there was some chance Chris’s crazy plan would work.
“No, I roped my darling daughter, Mitzy, into meeting Bonnie at the gate and bringing her in the back way. I took Sarah in the front, and then we both scooted out and barred both doors behind us. They’ll have to sort out the problem before I let them out.”
Valerie took a deep breath. “Chris, I think there is a law against kidnapping and holding people against their will. Besides, you left Bonnie and Sarah within grabbing distance of sharp instruments? You’d better pray that those weapons of grass destruction don’t turn into anything more dangerous.”
“Oh, come on, Val. They are Christians, after all. They surely won’t do each other injury. You don’t really think they would, do you?”
Chris was beginning to wonder if her plan had not only been ill-advised, but dangerous. The exasperation in Valerie’s voice caused her “facilitating” friend some doubts.
“Why not?” chided Val, “They have already done injury to themselves and to the rest of the church by not resolving whatever this problem is that they have between them. There aren’t too many more steps to take before the cold war heats up. Besides, how do you know they are even sorting things out? Do they know what it is they are supposed to be doing in the shed? They could be hatching a plot on how to escape, or planning how to freeze you out of their world when they do get out. Instead of Bonnie and Sarah not talking, it will be Bonnie, Sarah, and Chris not talking. How will that have helped the situation?”
Dead air reigned once more as Chris chewed on Valerie’s words.
“But I was only trying to help, honest. It never occurred to me that they might not even know why I had locked them in the shed. It seemed obvious to me.”
However, you’re not the one with the unforgiving spirit clouding your vision, thought Valerie.
“Chris, have ever actually talked to Bonnie and Sarah about how this problem is affecting them and damaging the church?”
“Well, neither have I, so I don’t have much room to criticize. I’m going to hang up now. I’ll be at your place in ten minutes. We will go into the shed together, you will explain why you suffered this momentary lapse of judgment and we will, Lord willing, sit down at your kitchen table, have a nice cup of coffee together and talk this out. Hopefully, Bonnie and Sarah will be so mad at you that they will look at each other more favourably.”
“What should I do while I’m waiting?” asked Chris.
“Pray, sister, pray.”