Demise Of A Marriage: A True Story - Part 2:1 Lost & Found

Posted at 18:25pm on 12th November 2009

With marriage, babies and moving house having failed to still the inner yearning in Megan’s life, she feels sure that her new friendship with Eileen must be the answer. Especially when Eileen invites her to hear Billy Graham. Eileen has a faith in God which Megan finds enviable. Eileen knows Jesus as her Saviour and Lord. Can Eileen change Megan’s life for the better?

Catch up with the story so far in Part 1:1 The Inner Yearning. It will be posted, in parts, two or three times a week. For a free prompt to follow the story to its conclusion click the Subscribe button on the right.

FRIENDSHIP

Eileen and I sat in the playroom/dining room of the Vicarage, one on either side of the fire, our coffee cups at our feet, and our sewing on our laps. The huge bay window looked out onto a level green lawn, from which rose a tall monkey puzzle tree. A gentle breeze nudged its bottlebrush branches, so that the early spring sunshine played in the interior of the room, touching now and then the mid-brown of Eileen’s hair, so that it appeared streaked with blonde.

Eileen had all the placid grace of a ballet dancer – her profession before marriage - as she bent over her work, hemming the dress she was making for her daughter Esther. On the other side of the room, my daughters, Sarah and Vicky, played happily with Esther and her brother, Sam.

“Shall I pick you up this evening for night school?” Eileen enquired, glancing up briefly from her work.

“Please!” I stabbed my needle in and out of the pleated chiffon lampshade I was assembling. “I might even be able to get the braid stitched on before then, and begin the next one.”

We held our work aloft, basking in the mutual admiration that our new-found friendship had brought us, and the new avenues of recreation that it had opened up to us.

With my twenty-first birthday not far behind me, I felt that Eileen, at twenty-six, had a wisdom and maturity which I longed for in my own life. In the four years of my marriage, there had barely been time between babies to pause for breath, and the desire to know the peace and tranquillity which surrounded my new friend was strong within me.

It was now some months since Charles had first visited me and invited me to coffee with Eileen. He was right! We had much in common and, even in so short a time, had become close friends. Although still a little in awe of her, as the Vicar’s wife, I was delighted to find that we had the same interests, and that our attitudes towards parenting were similar. Only in one respect did we differ. Eileen had a faith in God, and her knowledge of him was heartfelt. Mine, in contrast, was a mere intellectual exercise!

“There’s a Billy Graham Rally coming up soon,” Eileen announced. “Would you like to come with me?”

She surveyed me, briefly, her grey eyes calm and reassuring.

My needle missed the lampshade and stabbed my finger.

“Ouch!” I sucked it, fearful of blood spots splattering the pale cream chiffon, yet thankful for the diversion. “I don’t know much about Billy Graham, and it would depend on whether James is in to babysit.”

To my surprise, James arranged to bring some work home for the evening in question. I had been somewhat vague about it, fearful of his reaction, since he had already teased me in public about my having friends in ‘heavenly places’.

“We’re going to a meeting,” I said, not specifying its nature. He didn’t pursue the matter and it was evident that he had little interest. I felt a sense of part relief, part sadness: a confirmation of the empty sham that was my marriage.

The meeting was in the Town Hall. The huge auditorium was packed with people, and I found the sound of so many voices lifted in melodious praise to God very moving. It reminded me, poignantly, of the haunting beauty of the nuns’ chants during the compulsory Masses I had attended at my convent school. That, too, I had found inspiring, evoking, as it did within me, a sense of the awe and majesty of God.

Singing the well-loved hymns of my childhood, and listening to unfamiliar choruses, I marvelled at the difference between then and now. The God we’d sung to at school had been an aloof and remote being, clothed in the sumptuous splendour of the mass, and veiled with the mystery of incense and priesthood. Other than a naked and bloodied figure upon a cross, there had been no sign of Jesus and little mention of his name. Yet Dr Graham’s talk seemed to centre upon him, and he spoke in ordinary language of who and what Jesus was and is; of what it meant to be lost and found.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” he told us, explaining that this meant that we were lost - cut off from God, since he is too holy to look upon sin. “But God, himself, rectified that; bridging the gap by coming as a man to walk on earth with the rest of humanity.

“So Jesus took our sin upon himself, so that the lost might be found; so that we might be born again, as children of God,” he continued. “If you have not made Jesus your personal Saviour; if you have not invited him into your life to be your Lord, come forward tonight.”

The rally was drawing to its conclusion. I felt an impulse to go forward, to answer Billy Graham’s call. His address had crystallised within me the half-remembered dream; the elusive something which was missing from my life; the inner yearning.

My legs felt rooted to the spot. Terrified of being in the spotlight before several thousand people, I remained where I was. It was a long way up the aisle!

I busied myself in collecting together my bag and gloves, and donned my coat as if ready to leave, pushing aside the disappointment I sensed in Eileen, and to which she later admitted. Our conversation, as we walked across the street to retrieve the car, centred on what Billy Graham had been saying.

“I did ask Jesus into my heart when I was fourteen,” I said, earnestly. “I’d been reading a book: a Scripture prize awarded to my father, called ‘The Yellow Pup’. I remember desperately wanting to be like the little boy in the story, who talked to Jesus as if he were with him; next to him.

“It was soon after my sister was born, and I told God that I wanted to be the best big sister in the world, and that if he’d help me, then I’d follow him.

“My good intentions didn’t last though! We’d moved right away from where I grew up; I started at a mixed school for the first time ever; and as none of my family went to church, neither did I. By the time I left school to start work, I’d forgotten all that.”

“Are you sure it was real?” Eileen asked, her voice muffled in the collar of her winter coat. “I mean – did you understand what you were doing; what you were asking God?”

“Well, I thought I did!” We crossed the road and walked past one of our favourite department stores with barely a glance at the lit windows. “My mother sent me to Sunday School when I was little, and then I went to a youth group at another church, so I wasn’t entirely ignorant. But by the time I was a teenager – well, my parents would have been shocked if they’d known what I was up to.”

We walked on, silently, down the gas-lit street, our breath hanging in wreaths in the cold night air. I was wrestling with the thoughts that Billy Graham’s talk had inspired.

“Eileen. You know Dr Graham talked about spreading the Gospel – well – suppose it’s wrong? Supposing the Muslims, or Jews, are right and our belief in Jesus is mistaken?”

In the dim light, Eileen’s features were barely distinguishable. She stopped on the pavement beside the car. Instinctively, I knew that she was drawing on some hidden resource. God? Was he the one who was to satisfy my inner yearning. Was what Eileen was about to say going to change my life?

Now read on: In Part 2:2 of Demise Of A Marriage - Lost & Found, will Megan's new faith and church friends be the answer to her failing marriage?

© Mel Menzies - All Rights Reserved

Author of a number of books, one a No 4 Bestseller, Mel Menzies is also an experienced Speaker at live events, as well as on Radio and TV.

All proceeds from Mel’s latest novel, A Painful Post Mortem, are for charities benefiting children worldwide. Buy a copy here and help raise cash for children like Rachel, who, at 13 is mother to 6 kids orphaned by AIDS, or this project, drug-proofing teenagers in the UK

Your Comments:

14th December 2009
at 8:00pm

very fine and cute story you have made and I like that you
shared here very frankly all that really happened...

Mel Menzies
15th December 2009
at 6:09pm

Thank you. I'm glad you're enjoying it. It was my first
published book, written more than 25 years ago, and it was not very
well written.



I had seriously been wondering whether to pull the plug on it
because it might be doing me a disservice associating myself with
something of poor quality. But if it's being read and enjoyed,
or someone finds it of benefit, then what does it matter about the
quality of style or writing?

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