They rambled into the room, talking, laughing, swapping stories, and slapping each other on the shoulder as men do when at ease.
As the deacons took their places, I cleared my throat. I was discouraged, I told them, because of dawdling attendance, lagging finances, and chronic fatigue. Our facilities needed renovation, but money was lacking. Our small staff was at odds, but I hadn't the energy to deal with it. Our growth had slowed, but I couldn't help it. My voice conveyed no anger, just weariness.
I noticed their smiles gradually dissolved like the fade-out of a poignant movie scene. Shoulders sagged. By the end of our meeting, they listlessly filed from the room like Job's comforters.
Well, at least I was transparent and honest, I thought. I lowered my mask and let them see what was really in my heart. I enabled them to peek through the window of a pastor's soul.
All I did, I soon realized, was infect them with discouragement as effectively as Typhoid Mary unwittingly spread her dreaded ...1