‘If you’re weary, if you’re feeling worthless, then I urge you to follow our ways,’ the minister said during his sermon. ‘You’ll discover a sense of self and purpose when you lay down your selfish dreams and become one of us.’
Sandra watched as members of the congregation raised their arms to the heavens, eyes closed and lips moving in silent beseechment. Her entire body tingled as she sat among them. Tears began to fall on her cheeks; her heart was rock, heavy, sinking down to her feet.
Before she knew what was happening, she stood and cried out, ‘I’ll follow your ways, preacher!’
‘Praise be! We have a seeker!’
The congregation broke out into a chant. They each moved to where Sandra stood, their hands reaching for her, speaking unintelligible words. Sandra floated in the moment; the tingles in her body increased to a level to that of an electric shock. Jolting movements came unbidden; her arms began to windmill and her feet jerked and kicked. The preacher came near. He pressed his hand to her forehead. A stillness miraculously came over her, along with a quietness deep in her soul.
Over morning tea, everyone was so welcoming. People jostled each other to speak to her. An hour after the service ended, Sandra walked out feeling empowered, enlightened. She smiled to herself. She felt accepted and she liked how it fitted. This place was just the balm she needed to soothe her inner loneliness and fears for the future.
Once home, she burst inside to share the news with Fred. He wasn’t in the house. Eventually, Sandra found him digging a hole in the back paddock.
‘Fred! I’ve got so much to tell you.’
Fred put aside his shovel to listen. Sandra relayed her entire morning at the church; he rolled his eyes when spoke of the moment she became a follower. Pausing briefly mid-sentence, Sandra brushed aside her disappointment then continued to recount her experience, finally ending with, ‘And I’m so much happier, already.’
‘I’ve heard of this clown, Sandra. Be careful,’ Fred warned.
‘What do you mean?’
‘He’s full of heresy. Doesn’t follow the true doctrines of the faith. You’ll be drinking the Kool Aid before you know it.’