Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Vote/Voted off the Island (05/29/14)
TITLE: Ms Unreliability
By Ellen Carr
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“I agree,” said Roma. “But should I call her first, to see if she's on her way?”
“OK, but I bet she's forgotten,” said Marta. “I've lost count of the times she's turned up late, or forgotten to turn up at all. Ring her, and then we'll get started anyway. We can't wait any longer.”
It was the Prayer Breakfast team planning for Saturday's breakfast. Marta had a list of what needed to be done: plan the program and food, and assign the tasks. As Roma rang Maree, Marta crossed her arms across her chest. What a waste of time this was. It wasn't as if she didn't have other things to do.
“She's really sorry,” Roma reported. “She got caught up helping Pria. Pria's sick and her kids needed picking up from school. She might be here in about half an hour, or she might be later.”
“Look, I don't think we can keep making allowances for Maree,” said Marta. “I think we'll have to take her off this committee. We could get things done much more efficiently without her.”
No-one spoke for a moment. No-one quite knew what to say.
“She means well,” said Jan. “She's the kindest person, ever. She'd be here if she wasn't helping someone, as usual. She definitely values our prayer breakfasts. She always has people to pray for.”
“You're right, Jan,” said Roma. “I'm not comfortable with kicking her off the committee.”
Silence again, except for the tapping of Marta's pen. Roma looked down and Jan rubbed her neck.
Jan broke the silence. “We're a Prayer Breakfast committee, girls. We should pray about this.”
The tapping stopped and the three women looked at each other, embarrassed smiles spreading over their faces.
“Of course we should,” said Marta. “Let's pray now.”
As they prayed, Roma's phone rang. She glanced at the read-out. “It's Maree. I'd better take it.” They could all hear Maree; she was speaking loudly.
“I'm stuck in traffic so I'm not going to make it. Sorry! Look, I think I'll have to bow out of the committee. I've got so much other stuff going on in my life. God keeps leading me to people who need help. I've got to get my priorities right.”
The women looked at each other. Roma was smiling, Jan's mouth had dropped open and Marta was grinning.
Maree was still talking. “I've just had a call from Linda, my ex-prisoner friend. She needs a break from her partner. I'm going round to get her and take her home for a day or so.”
“Can I speak to Maree?” asked Marta, and took the phone from Roma.
“Maree, we've just been praying about you, and about this committee. I think God is showing us all that he wants you to use your time in other ways. God has gifted you to be a carer. You have such patience and love for people, especially people who aren't easy to love.”
“Thanks so much, Marta! I have to ring off because I shouldn't really be using my phone whilst driving,” said Maree. “Thank you for encouraging me though, and for understanding why I'm stepping down. Say 'bye to the others. 'Bye.” And she rang off.
Jan was wiggling her finger in the air. She had something to say. “I've just had a serendipitous moment!”
“A what?” asked Roma.
“I've just realised that you're a bit of a 'Martha', Marta. All three of us are, actually. We love getting things organised. And Maree's a bit of a 'Mary'. I know I'm stretching the analogy a bit, but she likes to love people above all else. She drops what she's doing to go and help people, while we 'Marthas' would probably just give them an appointment for later.”
Roma laughed. “You're right, Jan. However, I'd like to point out that I do sometimes do 'Mary' things. I do sometimes vary my schedule so I can help someone.”
“Even Ms Super-Organised, me, does that sometimes,” said Marta 'Hey! Isn't it good that God has doled out all the gifts to different people so all bases are covered. 'OK 'Marthas', let's get planning!”
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