During coffee, the layman’s wife pulled me into a little knot of women and asked if we could have a ladies luncheon at her home sometime before Thursday this next week. I mentioned a day I preferred and the three of them immediately chimed in they also had that day available. I noticed John speaking with the layman at the same time, but I didn’t catch that there was a plot afoot.
Since my experience at the altar, things had been changing, as if I’d entered some other dimension, because it wasn’t ‘me’ who now pushed me around from the inside. There was another force involved in my life. So I wasn’t too surprised when this other entity in me expressed a desire to attend, I just didn’t know how to work with this condition. So I hemmed and hawed around a ‘maybe’ answer. Then my hostess dropped the bombshell. “The men’s weekend starts this Thursday night and it is required that the husband attend a Cursillo before the wife is allowed to be a candidate.”
What?!!! That deceitful wretch who ruined my life would be preferred before me? My consternation must have spread over not only my face but my entire body as my hostess hurriedly explained. “We have no trouble getting women to attend because they have a desire for the Lord, but if we don’t make the men go first then we would have very few men attend. If the truth is told, however, it is the men who change the most, but we have to put the pressure of the wife on them to get them to go. Do you think John would attend?”
I went home and asked. “Yeah. I’m already signed up. That guy at church called today and I said ‘Yes.’”
Suddenly panic seized me. “Don’t do anything to embarrass me.”
His eyes fired cruel hatred when he replied. “I want to get rid of this thing as much as you want it.”
John was not allowed to do anything for himself. They picked him up, made him leave his keys at home, carried his suitcase, and off he went. Sunday night when he returned, I answered the front door and saw John and his ‘escort,’ arms around each other, crying, standing like two wet noodles. The man pushed John through the door, closed it and left without a word to me.
Disgusted, I perceived the ‘escort’ had been a closet homosexual and the two had ‘discovered’ each other. But when I reached out and touched John’s arm it felt like my fingers sank into warm butter. And the softness wasn’t just on the outside. He led me into the bedroom and made the most exquisite love to me. Then he soaked in the bathtub for three hours, singing praises to God through his tears, finally coming to bed at one in the morning.
He really didn’t talk to me for the next two weeks, but he gave me a key as to what happened to him. He said he simply sat back and observed, didn’t participate at all. But late Saturday night they took the men, thirty attendees, next door to a chapel. They gave each man a little piece of paper and a pencil and asked them to write down all their sins. John said he wondered how he could get all of his sins on such a small piece of paper. But he wrote something.
Then they asked the men to come up in groups of four to the wooden cross they had laid on the steps to the altar, a cross about twelve feet high with at least a four foot crossbeam. They gave each man a hammer and a nail and asked them to nail their sins to the cross. John watched for a while and then felt someone behind him put a hand on his shoulder. At about the time John was thinking, “Why not?” a voice asked. “Why not?” Standing, he saw no one behind him.
When he came back to his seat, he started crying, and as far as I know he kept right on crying. I don’t know what he did at work, but at home, the tears flowed freely. The kids asked behind his back if anything was wrong with Daddy. I said, “No, nothing’s wrong, and whatever has happened to him is really good.”