Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Saving Souls

Today is the day someone decided would be the perfect day to jackhammer a hole in the brick wall that holds up my side of the building. I can fully understand why this particular day would be appealing to the jackhammerist. We held 3 Bible Studies this morning, had a men’s breakfast, and we were visited by a desperate person looking for assistance.

In addition, there were many counseling sessions taking place just across the hall- and anyone knows that there is nothing like the rip-tear of metal against brick to create a calming environment for deep personal discussions.

I had it easy, being the one who was conversing with the visitor who came to us in search of assistance. I know this particular person, and have noticed in our previous discussions, that he has a bit of trouble conversing or exchanging words that I can understand. So, communication without words was not a problem today. We have learned to use eyebrow chatter to convey our messages back and forth.

The people who climbed out of the depths of hell to work on the construction today resembled characters from old stories and movies I’ve seen. One was silent and wore a baseball hat. He was a Silence of the Lambs sort; hollow eyes and a gnawing in his gut for something human to consume. We didn’t talk much. Another looked like a cross between Rip Van Winkle and ZZ Top. They are genetically connected somewhere down the line. The third stooge was Moe, no question.

They dropped in this morning surrounded by a dull fog, which I later discovered was just a contrail of mortar dust from a previous job. They had reflective dust particles in their hair, and the Rip Van Winkle guy had a beard that tinkled. It was a little odd. As a group, they felt slightly radioactive to me, but not wanting to be rude, I didn’t mention it.

They went straight to work,pulling in all sorts of equipment and cords. They set up the area to look very much like a true construction site. It was impressive. No scaffolding, but nearly every other prop you could imagine created a realistic set. They measured, they stood, they looked, they looked at their watches, they waited.

During their prep time, I was inundated with questions. ….Why are there three men in the ladies’ rest room? What’s with the beard? Are they here to see the Pastor? Do they have the right church? What’s that smell? I noticed the Bible Study students begin to arrive for their classes about the same time the power equipment got dragged into the hallway. Need I say more? Timing is everything. And so the lilting melody began…..

I felt for the Pastor, though. He was working hard in his office doing quiet things. I said DOING QUIET THINGS. Meditation, working on sermons, and counseling.

His first appointment arrived and as they closed the door, I started to wonder…….I thought to myself, ‘What would it be like to be in there right now,?’ I imagined a person venturing in to see the Pastor for the very first time. They are a little bit intimidated, shy maybe, nervous. They have taken a long long time of thinking and deciding and finally, they decided to take the leap and go see the Pastor, the Mighty Pastor for some much needed comfort and advice. Maybe they’ve been unable to sleep for nights and nights because of the weight of their own personal burden. So, they meekly make their way into the Pastor’s cave and when they sit down they realize that their fears were for naught. The room is clearly filled with Christian love and kindness. They deepen their breathing a tad and let go a smidgeon.

The Pastor pulls his chair closer so that he can focus all of his attention on his congregant- in- need. It’s a Rockwell moment- A warm scene showing the support that can transpire between people. The visitor begins to talk, well, the visitor’s mouth opens. The Pastor leans a little closer, tilting his head and turning his ear toward the conversation and then- and then- the jackhammer begins singing its song. The sofa sitter is sent straight into the ceiling, and the Pastor continues to fall forward, right out of his chair. The noise stops abruptly and the two try again. Again, the jackhammer interrupts the confidential moment.

90 minutes later, the Pastor’s door opens, and he comes out with his eyes wide, eyebrows hang gliding over his head. Straight to the nut jar he goes.

“What’s tttttthhhhhaaaattttt nnoooiiissseee???” He vibrates. The nut jar is shaking in his hold, and it isn’t long before we have peanut butter.

I held his hands still around the jar and guided the jar of nut butter back down to its place on my desk. “So how was the appointment? I didn’t’ see him come out.”

“Every time he started to talk, the walls would tremble and the floor would shake and I couldn’t hear a thing.”

I thought a minute. “ Well, Is he hiding somewhere in your office?”

“ Heck, no. He climbed out the window a while ago, I saw him running down the sidewalk towards the Baptist church, I guess he’s going to try again down there.” He hung his head and trembled back towards his office.

I called after him,“Hey, boss- don’t sweat it, you did what you could, I’m sure you made a big difference just being there for him.”

“ Well, you can’t save ‘em all, I guess.” My disheartened boss went into his office, gently closing the door behind him. I stood and watched with a heavy heart. He’s a good guy, and a great listener. I watched as his door closed, and I watched as the doorknob fell out and onto the floor. Some days are better than others, I guess.

Church Chick


HeyJules said...

This post has GOT to become one of your all time classics! That was just so wonderful to read and laugh along with.

Thank you for sharing all these great stories.

VA said...

Read some of this one aloud and we were both lol !!
Keep up the good work.

Sally said...

Oh dear, hope all the hammering has stopped now... has the pastor recovered?
Great post though ...why is it so easy to laugh at others problems what a perverse lot we are!

Leslee said...

Those Baptist will fix that person right up, I'm sure!