Diana rose from her seat as the pastor began his closing. Her leader had assigned her to right side of the stage. She walked slowly to the front. She really hated this part. Sobbing people, sad stories, losers looking for forgiveness, and it was her job to pray with them. She much preferred the prestige of belonging to the prayer team than actually praying.
She finds her place in front of thousands of people and leans against the stage. The service is fairly full. She glances down at her outfit and straightens her jacket and shirt. Her hair is perfect. She’d made sure of that before she left home. She held out her hands slightly satisfied with her manicure. The lights wave over her head as the band begins their last song.
Diana fixed her prayerful look on her face and looked out at the congregation. A blonde woman and a younger brunette approached the front. The blond woman is crying. Diana assesses her quickly. Another sad case. Another sob story. Expertly hiding her disgust, Diana watches them approach. They hover for a moment. The younger girl is pulling the blonde woman away from her but she insists on Diana. Diana sighs.
The woman starts sobbing the minute she reaches Diana. The younger woman is glaring at her. Diana looks back and places her hand delicately on the blond woman’s arm. She hopes her clothes are clean and free of germs.
“What can I pray for today?” Diana begins her usual speech. The younger woman starts tugging on the blonde woman again. Diana glances at her and she is frowning. She shakes her head at Diana. Of all the nerve!
Diana turns to the blonde woman again. Her eyes on my face. Finally, I have her attention. “How can I help you, dear?” Diana braces for the inevitable sordid tale.
The woman stands a little taller. “I’d like pray for my finances. My husband has divorced me and refuses to pay child support.” She hesitates.
Oh, here it comes. Diana works to clear her face of any emotion.
A sob escapes the blonde woman and the younger woman hugs her! “He says he doesn’t have to pay for someone else’s children. And he refuses to pay me alimony, too.” She breaks down in sobs yet again.
How tiresome. Diana glances at the younger woman before closing her eyes to pray. She is still glaring!
Diana begins her prayer as usual but halfway into it she breaks off. “Really, I don’t know what to tell you. If you’d come to me sooner, maybe a few children back, God could do something. But this, this is just dis…”
“Stop!” Diana is startled by the scream. Several people turn around. “Lily, don’t listen to her. She doesn’t even know God. I don’t know how she is on the prayer team.” Diana glances around and sees her leader staring at them. She immediately tries to pull the two women back into a huddle.
“Ladies, really. Let’s start again.” Diana reaches for Lily but the younger woman slaps her hand away.
“No! She doesn’t need any more of your religion.” She pulls Lily away from the front. Diana watches them go. She stands there, arms at her side, her mouth open.
“Diana?” Diana cringes inside. That is her leader’s voice. “Meet me after the service. Do NOT leave before speaking with me. Understood?” Diana nods and looks at the floor. She walks to the side of the auditorium away from the view of the congregation.