Introducing Phil


This scene was cut for several reasons- it slowed things down, it was mainly exposition, and although it might be interesting to know more about Phil and Donna, it didn't move the Bobbi and Chuck storyline forward. Looking back, it is swimming in passive verbs and 'was'-es. We still love Phil, but he had to give up his ink. He probably would have wanted it that way.
 
Pastor Philip Boyd Shannon had just settled into his recliner with a Cold War spy novel. Committed to his ministry, and with so much work to be done, it took a conscious effort for him to carve out leisure time. He had promised his wife he would make it a point to read, at least one evening each week, purely for enjoyment. With less than a hundred pages to go, he hoped to finish this book tonight, and read parts two and three before mid-August.
His fifty-six years showed on his face, and he could hardly remember when his hair hadn’t been gray. At least he still had most of it. He wasn’t fit necessarily, but his elevated blood pressure dictated a close watch on his diet, so his weight stayed down. Never a kidder, he was nonetheless good-natured and kind-hearted, which suited him perfectly for the pastorate. In his twenty years at Preston Road Community Church, he had seen it steadily grow to a membership of around four hundred. On any given Sunday, half of them were in attendance.
Donna was upstairs getting ready for bed, probably even asleep already. She was the opposite of Phil in almost every way- although she preferred to say she was Phil’s ‘complement.’ He was a night owl, while she rarely missed a sunrise. Phil was studious, intellectual even. Donna, however, hadn’t read a book since Michael grew too big for her lap. She made sure her hair stayed its original honey blond with regular trips to the hairdresser, which Phil thought was just silly. “Well, when people start asking if you’re my daddy, we’ll see who’s silly,” she teased him in return. Growing up as one of nine children, Donna had a keen insight into people, though, which Phil had learned to trust implicitly.
When the phone rang at a quarter till ten, Phil answered without bothering to check the caller ID. “Hi, this is Phil.”
“Phil, this is Rita Heatley. I’m at Bobbi’s, and we need you and Donna right away if you can come.” Rita hesitated slightly before speaking the words, “Chuck has had an affair.”
“Chuck’s what?” That sounded so impossible, Phil was almost sure she said that Chuck had been killed.
“Chuck has had an extramarital affair. I don’t know much more. Can you come?”
“Of course, we’ll be right there,” he promised, his heart heavy with grief. Years ago, he had baptized Chuck, just a few months before he had performed Chuck and Bobbi’s wedding. He and Donna had watched them grow as a couple, and had commented on what good parents they had proven to be.
Dear Father, I don’t know if Bobbi and Chuck have it in them …  Can he repent? Can she forgive him? This is going to have to be Your wisdom, not mine. What do I say?  Where do I even start? Keep Bobbi and Chuck and the boys in Your hands, and help me help them. In Jesus’ name.
Phil shoved his book in the side table drawer. Someday.