Once upon a time in the far nort'land there was a little country church that had been around since the late 1800s. It had a membership of around 350 folks whose generations had attended since the beginning of time. Now over the last years membership had fallen off, so as a result so had involvement. And also as a result so had the giving (income).
In any organization there is always a certain nucleus of ladies who get all the lady things done that need to be done in a church. They're the ones that have the time and the desire and like doing those kinds of things. Usually it's the "older" ladies of the church because in this day and age the younger ones are still busy with their families and most of them hold down a second job. They're just not available during the day to do a lot of things.
Now also in this church there is Francine - who calls herself the office manager - and has been involved with this church in various capacities all of her life. Francine is a person who likes to be in control of everything, even if it doesn't or shouldn't concern her. She will do anything she has to in order to get the results that she wants including lying about facts and people. She's very skilled at manipulation and twisting things to make people believe what she has to say and to make herself look good and someone else look bad.
We have an organization at our church called "Ladies Aid" (LWML for the rest of you Lutherans.) Francine has been the president several times for several years per term. This last time she was in that position for 6 years. The bylaws tell us that you can only hold an office for a maximum of two terms but nobody had bothered to investigate that.
I was asked to finish out the treasurer's position for the term of a lady (Gene) who moved away, and then unfortunately (I say that now) I was elected to the position for another term. I knew that Francine and Gene were very good friends, but I didn't know just how good. Gene was Francine's "toadie" and would help Francine bull through anything that Francine wanted. Francine would have things all lined up and done, then tell Gene and another friend (Fern) that she had to have that particular issue voted through without any controversy, and it would happen. After I took over the position of treasurer Francine found out she couldn't run me like she had run Gene. That set the stage for trouble and she began "setting me up" to look bad, which she was very successful at.
I won't go into all the details, as there are just too many of them and I could write a book about what's happened over the last two years. But here's the story of the straw that broke the camel's back:
The Ladies Aid does various fund raisers throughout the year so that we have money to do different things for the church. One of the things we do is pay for the photocopy machine that Francine has in her office. It's got bells and whistles on that you wouldn't believe - far more copy machine than what our little church office needs. That was something that Francine bulled through with Gene and Fern. Anyway, the monthly bills come to the church office and onto Francine's desk where she proceeds to keep them until about the 12th of the month. Payment is due by the 15th, so by the time I get the bill there's no way I can write a check and it will get there in time. This has gone on for the last 10 months. When we were gone this summer that added even more chaos to the situation because we didn't come back until the bill was two weeks overdue. Even though the president of our Ladies Aid had the checkbook and has signature power, Francine didn't bother to ask her to pay the bill. She just stuck it in my mailbox and waited for me to come back. By that time the collection agency called me and got on my case and that's about the time I started investigating the leasing contract for this machine and came across a whole additional bunch of SHIT (there's no other word to describe it) that Francine has pulled for her own benefit and definitely not for the church's.
This all resulted in a meeting that consisted of TWO sales reps from this company, Francine, the president of the church council and myself. When I came home and told Ole about it he was aghast (he's a trustee of the church and on the budget committee.) He said I was double-teamed by the sales reps. At one point in time I shook my finger at the sales reps and said, "I know what you're doing. I'm married to a man that was a sales rep for 30+ years. He knows all those tricks but had too much integrity to use them. That's why he was successful and was able to retired at age 55. Nobody likes to be tricked!" Then they backed off a bit. I won't go into all the details of the contract that Francine signed two years ago, but anybody who would written a contract like that is a real crook.
Anyway, Francine had what's called buyer's remorse. She had purchased something (the contract) and was going to do everything in her power to make herself look good and not admit that she had made a huge mistake. The end result was that she questioned MY integrity in front of all these people and if I had responded we could have gotten into quite a verbal fist-a-cuffs. I wouldn't stoop that low. I was called a liar, irresponsible, etc., etc.
By the time I got home that day I was in tears and a wreck. This is the type of thing that everyone who tries to do something has to deal with - not to this degree, but maybe a different level. She will twist the words that people say to make herself look good and that person look bad. The end result is that I have resigned from my position as treasurer of "Ladies Aid," and also from being the webmaster of the church web site. I won't even go into all the wrong information that she has given me to post on the web page and then when it gets up there she'll tell me it's wrong, as will other folks who look at the web page.
There's been a lot of other stuff too, but I won't bore you with the details. The end result of all of this is that I wasn't feeling well and ended up in my doctor's office where he told me my blood pressure was 170/106. I have NEVER in all my life had BP problems, in fact the nurse has usually had to take it a couple of times because it runs so low normally. So the doc put me on medication, which makes me feel even worse than before I started taking it. My BP is lower, but I can't function otherwise - so this morning I didn't take it to see how I would feel throughout the day. Tomorrow I'm going to call him and tell him he needs to find something different for me. When I'm on this stuff (I think it's spelled liciniprol - I'm too lazy to look it up) I am so profoundly fatigued I can hardly lift my feet off the floor to walk. I feel like a zombie. I can't live like that.
So that's why I've been absent. My mind has been in a fog with church politics and ugly medication. Thanks to all of you who sent me an email wondering about me.
Love you all,