I couldn't pinpoint the reason initially, only that I had a vague sense of dread all afternoon.
It culminated in a somewhat depressed Rachel heading to Ootoya, a fantastic Japanese restaurant, and ordering a dinner that is a tiny bit extravagant just because she needed some good food whenever she was feeling like the black dog bit.
She was contemplating how she could get out of it as she ate. Perhaps she would just not tell anyone and go AWOL? Perhaps she should say something cropped up at the very last minute and go watch a movie (technically that wasn't untrue). What should she do?
Finally, she had a glimmer of insight and realised it was perhaps because she didn't want to co-lead a discussion that evening that had been planned a couple nights before. The silly girl should have let the cell leader know instead of keeping it all bottled up, but this was classic Rachel for you.
So, with that in mind, she texted the other discussion group leader and asked nicely, if somewhat vaguely, if she could divest all her responsibilities to her because "she wasn't feeling up to it". Which was true. She was exhausted. That fact soon found her lying in bed trying to take a 10 minute power nap which resulted in a rather groggy Rachel struggling to get out of bed at 7.30pm so that she could be late just so she wouldn't have to make small talk with the other cell members before cell group started. That way she could also skip singing the praise song that was these days too upbeat for her these days and just slip in to listen to the discussion, hoping no one would see her sullen look and ask her why she was so quiet.
Just before she stepped out of the house, she lugged along "The complete poems - Anne Sexton" because when she attended a poetry workshop a fortnight ago, Cyril Wong said that in a time she was very depressed, reading her poems gave him some sort of comfort, assuring him that he was not alone in that. She thought she would read it in the very long journey to the east.
Why did she go after that huge struggle? Perhaps it was because every single instance she could remember, that when she didn't want to go for cell group, God always showed up? Could it be a case of spiritual warfare? Or perhaps she was just really tired after a long day of work. Whatever the case, she was very encouraged by a text a friend sent her that assured her that was part of the Body of Christ meeting up and perhaps she had a need to meet by going there. Strangely enough, that was the same thing she she to that friend a week ago.
So, she thought she would be really late.
But God had a wicked sense of humour.
Perhaps it started late, or perhaps there were many people who needed to share about God's goodness that week, but whatever the case, when she stepped in very late at 8.20pm, someone was still sharing her testimony.
She got a seat to the right of someone she didn't know at all (this was a combined cell group with another cell), and to the left of a amiable friend.
As she got past the praise song into the mellower worship song, it really got to her. It's amazing what music can do to your soul. Especially a well written one.
During this time, she felt God speak to her:
"Seek solace in me,
instead of in Anne Sexton's poetry."
That was nice. And a good reminder.
She was still feeling a little wary when that ended. But she didn't have to worry. After breaking up into smaller groups for the discussion, she didn't have to do much as there were questions that had already been prepared. All shared from their personal experiences and she felt compelled to as well.
Then at the end, she felt like she should stay back awhile and fellowship. And she was affirmed by some other members by the other cell group who asked to see her poetry and her jokes. Then, she went home, spirits very much uplifted.
Perhaps it was a good thing she attended cell group after all.