[Fiction] A woman at the end of her rope turns to a pastor for help:
Seven months into her husband’s depression, Diane called the church secretary. She wanted the elders to come over and anoint Mitch with oil. He hadn’t put his pants on in a month. In the past week he hadn’t left the bed. When he spoke, it was about endings—the end of his career, the end of suffering. This morning, at 3:00 a.m., he’d woken her to ask if summer was over yet. It was early June. Diane was afraid he might kill himself.
She’d seen anointings performed twice before. The first time was at a Baptist summer camp when she was nine. During evening worship—held in a makeshift auditorium beneath a stained canvas tarp—a boy with braces on his legs was brought forward by his mother, his wheelchair leaving tracks in the sawdust. The camp’s pastor removed the braces, knelt in front of the chair, and rubbed oil all over the boy’s white calves as if he were applying sunscreen. The following summer the boy came back to camp still wearing the braces, though now he used crutches with metal cuffs around the wrists.