because I could do with a strong drink.
At the funeral last week, when I learnt that Sean would be away this week, I said, 'We'll just carry on with the study then, shall we?' Thus tonight arrived with me leading the bible study on the first verses of Mark chapter 12.
You could tell what the evening was going to be like when Chris told me, as I made his tea, that he'd been thrown out of his flat by his landlord who's currently in court charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and that, as a result, he was still wearing the suit he'd been given for his father's funeral the previous Thursday. Oh and that I looked 32 or would do if I went to the gym with him.
The evening went down hill from then on ...
The regulars were outnumbered in audio volume by the ... what shall I call them? Irregulars. Occasional visitors with lots of valid questions but who don't really want to listen to any answers. My voice got progressively louder and squeakier as the evening wore on. I needn't have bothered with the preparation as I don't think anyone really listened. Except Angie who picked up on the bit in the parable about people being killed and wanted to know why God killed people/why Jesus advocated killing people/ why her nan and her baby had died.
'Because people are all bad, all sinners,' said one helpful soul behind me.
'What? Even my unborn baby was bad?'
(Oh, please shut up! This girl is distraught and you're telling her her baby is bad.) At that point Steve suggested that some questions might be better discussed on a one to one basis and perhaps we should close the formal bit of the study. (Formal, ha!) He told me after it was the only way he could think of to shut up 'Mr All People are Sinners'.
And I haven't mentioned Angie's previous questions.
'So Jesus' mother didn't have sex, right?'
'I thought you had to "come" to get pregnant.'
I might have uttered a squeak at that point but it wouldn't have mattered as it was total chaos by then anyway.
And to think, at the beginning of the study, I said, 'It's back to normal this week.' Normal? What's that?
But that's what Zac's exists for. The irregulars, the lost and the hopeless. The ones asking questions who'll one day listen to the answers. The ones whose pain is obvious as well as those who hide it under a blanket of steel. It's there for the 29-year-old who's been clean for 6 months and today got his very first job. For Avril who's still waiting for her place in rehab but who's been clean for 6 weeks in spite of living with users. For Di and for Ric, for Kingsley and for Kay. For me.