All Stiff in Starched Sheets

Beth awoke with a yelp. What a horrible nightmare! She longed to reach over to Keith for a comforting hug. But no, she was in a hospital, remember?

The doctor had told her that the recent trauma might produce some crazy things in the sub-conscious. Not to mention the drugs for pain. She felt that she must present an odd picture. Upper body casts. Unsightly purple bruise on the left temple. Stitches at the eyebrow.

The young woman in the bed opposite had been trying to hide the fact that she was staring. From what Beth had gleaned, Crissy was in for a broken hip from a fall from a second story balcony. Standing on a chair to water some plants. Lost her balance, or so the official story went. Beth suspected that there was some other real scenario.

"Must have had a bad one, eh?" Crissy looked genuinely concerned, but conversation had been strained. In the two days of Beth's treatment thus far Crissy had had only one visitor, a boyfriend named Steve. He had brought her up-to-date on his employment search. Presumably they shared the apartment and things were strained financially. Her parents were out of province and had phoned twice offering small comfort.

"Yes Crissy I don't usually have nightmares. This one was a doozy. Lost and alone in a strange community. People suspecting that I had done something terribly wrong. Nightfall setting in. The rest is kinda fuzzy."

"Nurse popped in about twenty minutes ago with those flowers on your table."

They were a beautiful surprise. The card was from Bruce and Karen Benton. For some reason she opted to read it aloud: "Hang in there Girl. We are so thankful that you were spared any greater danger. Pretty sore now though, right?"

A scripture portion had also been included:

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

Crissy did not respond to that, but looked down at the movie magazine in her lap. Thirty seconds later: "What's it like...being a preacher's wife I mean?"

"Oh it's not so very different. Two kids. School. Shopping. In-laws. House work. A lot of phone calls for my husband from people I hardly know. Two weeks' holidays in the summer. We like to camp. Endless laundry. Women and kids needing a friend to talk to or to pray. And some of the wildest ideas right out of the blue in my conversations with Keith. New ways formulated to express rich timeless truths. In short. I love it. I love him, and I love God for His constant goodness. Every now and then we feel that we make a difference."

"That all doesn't sound too unusual. My parents were Catholic. Gradually slipped right out of the routine. My boyfriend thinks the churches are all about getting your money."

"Perhaps he'd be interested in a place like ours. We are presently finding ways to turn things back over to the people. That they might have the joy of discovery, of testifying, of helping in simple ways. Sometimes, though, it feels as if we are going one step at a time through the darkness."

"Really? A preacher and his wife who don't have all the answers. I kinda like that."


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