Tender ministry

Response to a betrayal

"I saw him in the parking lot with her. I think he wanted to get caught.”

My mom’s hushed voice bled with betrayal. Unlike most gossip, this phone conversation didn’t have the quality of a listener hungry for salacious trivialities. It was more like being entangled in a highway wreck, not wanting to know the devastation but having to face it anyway. As I sat in the adjoining room, straining to hear, the whole house felt on edge.

I was 15 years old. I had missed church that Sunday morning but was catching up with what happened in the service by listening to my mom’s side of her phone conversations. Dressed in T-shirt and shorts, she walked back and forth with bare feet on the cork kitchen tile, reciting assorted facts and collecting others. The instant Mom hung up the phone, it would ring again.


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