They stayed there for awhile, silent.
“So what are you going to do?” Anna asked then, after the while had ended, pushing back a little from Jacob’s shoulder.
“I’m really not sure babe. A lot of it depends on Mark and how he handles it. I hope it will go well, on his side; I think it will, being that he’s already told me. I really don’t see, though,” Jacob paused, because he was about to actually say it, the inevitable conclusion. “I don’t really see how he would be able to stay in the position he’s in. I mean, as the pastor.”
“Well,” Anna responded, “I think you’re right. That’s a pretty big deal. Gambling, yeah, and the money; but the whole addiction and lying to his wife about it. That’s a lot.”
“Yeah. And I think he knows that. I’m more worried about stuff with Amy than church in a lot of ways.”
“She’s going to be devastated.”
Jacob knew that, but hearing it from his wife, who could identify with a wife in the situation Amy was in – that somehow helped to actualize the mess of it all.
“Yeah,” Jacob said.
“You should call him again.”
“Yeah,” Jacob said. “I probably should.” Though he didn’t want to, he did, opening his phone and calling.
“No answer,” he said, “I’m not going to leave another message.”
They sat there, together, unsure about which foot to put where and in what direction. Where do you go when significant chunks of your sky have fallen out like pieces of a ceiling? Do you go grab something to eat because no one feelings like cooking? Do you push yourself onto your knees for hours of fasting and prayer? I’m not sure, and, like I said, neither were Anna and Jacob.
“Maybe you should play me that song you were playing when I came in,” Anna offered in that uncertain moment. “Is it new?”
“Well, yeah, sort of,” Jacob said. “I’ve been working on the music off and on. The words are from a psalm I was thinking about today. It all clicked this afternoon. Pretty perfect, given the whole situation actually.”
And Jacob played it again – again squeezing his eyes closed tightly, singing out loudly and clearly – with the confident purity of worship. Jacob had a decent voice, and it worked well with the songs he wrote. He could never tell whether it was good enough, and he had been growing not to care. Perspective had been setting in recently, so that times like now – playing before only his wife and his Lord – satisfied him more than all the dreams of being a rock star ever could have done. In some ways, Jacob thought briefly as he sung, such a moment was maybe as pure as music could get until it was, with the rest of creation, unwrapped permanently from the fabric of fallenness. I tend to agree with him.
Jacob finished the song, opening his eyes.
There were tears in Anna’s eyes. He couldn’t remember ever seeing her react to a song of his like that.
“That’s beautiful baby,” she said. “It’s so perfect. The music fits so perfectly with the words. I think it means a lot right now especially. It’s neat the Lord gave that to you.”
“Yeah, it might be the closest I’ve gotten to inspiration,” Jacob said, with a weight of levity.
His phone vibrated violently on the coffee table.
“It’s Mark,” Jacob said, looking at the phone while standing up, bracing for the conversation.
“Hey man,” Jacob said. “How’s it going?”
Jacob started his normal, slow, on-the-phone pacing around the house, not saying anything but “uh huh” and “ok” and the like while Mark talked:
“Well, man, it’s not that great, but you know that. Sorry, I didn’t call you back sooner. Anyway, Amy called me back and asked me what it was I needed to talk to her about. I told her that I didn’t really want to talk about it over the phone. So, man, of course, she started getting a little freaked out, so when I got home she was freaking anxious about what I had to tell her. We got the kids squared away and we sat down, man, and I spilled it.”
“How did she take it?”
“She was really upset, as you could imagine, asking me how I could do this and lie to her, and, well, man, the kind of stuff you would expect her to say. She asked me if anyone else knew, so I told her that I had told you today at lunch, and you were the only person who knew.”
“And she started to say like ‘Well, don’t tell anyone else’ and ‘Jacob won’t tell the other elders will he?’ All sorts of stuff. She really freaked out when I told her you told me I needed to tell the elders. That’s when she just left.”
“She what?” Jacob asked.
“She just left,” Mark said, with marked concern in his voice. “Said she needed to be alone, time to think. I haven’t talked to her for a couple of hours or more now. I’ve been driving around with the kids in the car, calling her. Trying not to freak the kids out.” Mark paused. “Man, Jacob, I’m scared.”