When I last wrote about Flynn, I’d called him out on the mixed signals he was sending me, as well as his borderline attempts at two-timing his girlfriend with me. I made it clear that I would NOT be The Other Woman.
The very next day, I was asked to help lead a pre-Christmas worship service at church. Only after I’d agreed and showed up to rehearsal did I discover that Flynn was playing cello in accompaniment to the piano and guitar. At rehearsal, the guitarist quietly told me that Flynn and Patricia had broken up the day before and advised against mentioning it.
So he finally did it. It only took him two months.
Now that he was free to actually pursue a relationship with me, I expected Flynn to flirt more openly with me at the rehearsal. But instead, he was quiet and sullen, avoiding eye contact and generally being anti-social toward everyone, which is completely unlike him. Granted, he did just break up with his girlfriend of nearly a year, but it was two months in coming. And he did the heart breaking.
The day of the worship service, I anticipated that Flynn would again be quiet and a bit standoffish while he righted himself, but what I DIDN’T expect was for him to continue his interactions with Patricia. Everyone was seated at round tables of eight, with Patricia at one and me at another. Flynn chose to sit at a third table, completely alone. When someone at my table called over to him, “Hey, what are you being anti-social for? Come sit with us!”, he did get up, but instead of coming over to join us, he made his way over to the empty seat at Patricia’s table. What?
I went into the hallway to get coffee partway through the sermon, and Patricia followed me out. It seemed like she wanted to talk, but of course I couldn’t let on that I knew, so I just smiled and asked how she was doing. “Fine,” she answered with a shrug.
I looked into her eyes then and saw hurt that I recognized all too well. She didn’t know about Flynn and me (not that there was much of anything to know). What I saw was just the raw pain of a young, broken heart. And in that moment, she wasn’t Flynn’s ex-girlfriend. She was my Sister in Christ whose spirit had been crushed and whose heart had been bruised almost beyond healing. In that instant, I had a “Holy Spirit moment”, as I like to call them. I felt supernaturally filled with God’s love and joy and peace, and its purpose was for overflowing into Patricia.
“Can I hug you?” I asked suddenly, warmly.
Her eyes widened with surprise. “So you know then.”
I nodded. “James told me.”
She reached for me, and I wrapped my arms around her. Right at that moment, Flynn walked into the hallway, but I didn’t care. “I’m so sorry. I’ve been there, girl. Let me know if you need anything.”
She smiled a bit then – a small, hesitant smile – and we walked back in together.
When Patricia left our post-service potluck dinner an hour later, Flynn popped out of his chair and disappeared for several minutes, presumably to walk her out.
I don’t understand what he’s doing or thinking, but one thing became clear to me that evening: Whether or not Flynn is or ever will be intended for me, I don’t know, but my ministry is to Patricia and other young women like her whose broken hearts are in desperate need of comfort and encouragement and healing.
Our miseries become our ministry. And that night, my heart unexpectedly went out, not to Flynn, but to Patricia.