More than lonely.
The frightening realization of having no one.
Unable to get the personal attention of another human being.
Meningsbee had settled in for his afternoon time of reflection, which usually started with pulling up some news stories on the Internet and reading some articles to sharpen his insight.
But there was a dark side to this ritual. Ever since he had lost his wife, Doris, the lack of intimacy had driven him to a nagging temptation to peruse pornography.
He hated the word.
When he pastored back East, he often counseled people who were completely obsessed with the practice.
He knew all the right answers but the loneliness overtook him–the sense of abandonment caused by losing his love.
For you see, Doris died as she had lived–suddenly.
She had an infectious spirit with a childlike quality that manifested itself in the belief that her whim was the same as God’s will. If bananas were on sale at the grocery store, Doris believed it was ordained to make banana splits.
Although Richard was a bit put off by the theology, he benefitted from the glow of her enthusiasm.
She loved him. She loved him all the way. If she was dissatisfied, Richard never knew it.
She laughed more than she cried; she planned more than she complained, and in the bedroom, she had the steaminess of the Queen of Sheba mingled with the mercy of an angel.
She granted Meningsbee the role of Midas. Everything he touched she called gold.
He never had a chance to doubt himself–until one morning, she sat straight up in bed and said, “My head hurts.”
They were her last words. She crumpled to the side, the victim of a simultaneous massive stroke and heart attack.
No history of disease, just a demise.
So now Richard was without his Doris, yet still needing the comfort and consistency of a gentle love.
He was repulsed by the images he saw on his screen. He was only interested in “peek-a-boo porn”–in other words, pictures of beautiful women yearning to be loved. But every time he pulled up an innocent profile, his inbox was inundated with popups of violent rape and sexual mayhem.
Strangely, he both hated and pitied himself at the same time–hated because he knew he was wrong, but pitied because he was forced into the wrong by an evil twist of fate.
He was more than ashamed.
He was intellectually disgusted by his choice.
He was spiritually bewildered by his weakness.
And he was mentally dissatisfied with the antidote provided to him via the Web.
So at the end of each one of his afternoon sessions, he scrubbed his browser and walked away from his computer feeling a little more decayed each time.
What right did he have to preach the Gospel when such desperation tormented his soul?
Meningsbee was in the midst of a fresh burst of incrimination when there was a knock at the door. He was startled.
He quickly made sure there was no evidence of his iniquity, and went to see who it was.
He was so glad to see her.
She was like a supernal presence drawing him back into what he wanted his reality to be.
“I need to talk to you about Sassy,” she said solemnly. Meningsbee nodded his head and invited her in.
Once again, Matrisse was the needful distraction to draw him away from his own foolishness.