Part 7 — The pastor tries to refocus the conversation.
“The real issue that we need to deal with is that the covenant of your marriage has been broken. What would you have done differently if it had been another woman?”
Her eyes flashed as she said, “I would have made him pay big time,” she paused and then said slowly, “but if he was really sorry, we would have worked it through.” Again she hesitated as if thinking about what she was going to say. “But that’s different. I don’t mean to be overly bold, but I know how to compete with other women. I mean, look at me, pastor.” She rose, slipped off her suit jacket and presented herself as if she was a model walking down the runway. “You’re a man. I’m desirable, don’t you think?”
I thought I knew what was happening. I had focused on Eleanor’s every word for the past 45 minutes. Such an experience can evoke feelings of intimacy and be easily misinterpreted.
“Eleanor, I think the real issue we should…”
“It must be pretty lonely being a pastor. Do you ever look out on some Sunday morning at some of your more attractive members and wonder what it would be like? You don’t have to answer that, but I’ll just bet some of them are wondering that about you.”
“Somehow I doubt that, Eleanor, but we need to …”
“Oh, you’re wrong. Think about it. If a woman wants to get close to God, you may be the best path available.”
I felt uncomfortable. I resisted the impulse to reach up and loosen my collar. I only hoped that my face wasn’t turning red. I knew that the traumatic experience with Harold had shattered her self-confidence. In a crazy sort of way, she seemed to be trying to reaffirm her desirability as a woman and confirm Harold’s straying was not her fault.
I spoke brusquely. “Eleanor, we’re here to discuss what has happened between you and Harold. Your marriage and your children are at risk.”
She blinked and her eyes lost their trance-like glaze? “OK, so you are not available. Can you at least tell me that you find me attractive? I really need that right now.”
“You are definitely an attractive woman, Eleanor. Harold would really be the loser if he lost you as a mate.”
The conclusion will be published on May 27. AT this point, how do you think this is going to turn out? What would be your approach as a pastor in this situation?