Saturday, May 23, 2015

When Ministry Gets Scary

Ah Friday... my day off.

Unless of course there is a memorial service, which leads to a meeting, which leads to an emergency phone message. I put in a full day today, I had hoped to take some time earlier in the week but the nature of things was that I wasn't able to, the week before vacation adds tons of work. It has been a long, emotional, busy week. So much so that as the kiddo and I had our weekly Skype date with Grandma I nearly forgot I had a haircut appointment. Had I not opened up my computer and saw the reminder, "haircut in 8 minutes" it would have been all over. I was so exhausted I didn't want to go but I needed to. So I made it there two minutes late because I missed all the lights. I resisted all the upselling that was offered to me and stuck with a haircut. Finally I was in the chair getting my hair washed... seriously one of my favorite things. It was a quick cut and style and I was on my way home. As I was driving I saw a guy who looked terribly out of place looking with a sort of sideways glance a kid he was not with. It made me take note of the whole scene. As I came home to my family who is darn tired of me constantly having one more fire to put out I noticed said guy was walking down our block now, no child near by, phew! Until he started walking straight across the church lawn toward the church. I know there is an elderly lady working on bulletins in the office by herself. I also know she locks her self in... but today that building saw a lot of coming and going with a memorial service, what if a door got left open? My husband was in the garage and as he came back in I asked him to go check on the church and make sure my hard working bulletin making friend was OK. He went over and the guy was gone hadn't bothered her at all. Back to making dinner as planned.

Until.... Ding Dong Ding... our front doorbell rings (there is one on the back door too). I didn't even have to look I knew this guy was at the door. Before I could say anything and much to my horror, my hubs ANSWERS the door. I stay out of sight with my back to the wall listening carefully because one push and this guy could be in our house. Let me also say my kid is totally oblivious playing a game and being all loud.

Guy: "Are you with that church over there?"
Hubs: "Yeah what's going on?" (Dude Hubs sometimes you can tell a little lie just say no and bail.)
Guy: "I need to talk to the pastor." (My name is on the dam sign.)
Hubs: "She's actually finishing a funeral what do you need?" (Thank GOD he's thinking on his feet. The guy probably saw me in my attempt to get out of eye shot. The kid is getting really loud so I leave my post and quietly ask her to quiet down. This guy is not leaving!)
Guy: tells sob story (I know insensitive but there is always a sob story.)
Hubs: "Sorry man I have no cash."

We race around the house making sure everything is locked.

Here's the thing, this guy gave me the creeps long before he showed up at my door. I know I should not judge him by his appearance or his story. I know that if I lived a perfect life of faith I would have at the very least offered him something, even the dignity of speaking to him personally. I was pastored out today, totally out of anything to give, it happens. It is not uncommon for me to run into these sorts of people who are passing through and on hard times. Sometimes they give you the creeps and I believe I have those instincts for a reason.

I am sure that this man was and is a beloved child of God. I am also sure he fell somewhere between desperate and manipulative. You just rang the bell of my house, dude! My place where I live, where my child is playing, my personal space. That is on the very best day unsettling! It is also scary!

This is life though as a smallish town pastor, we are big enough to get all the people passing through via hitch hiking and such. We are in a place geographically where people know that often the pastor lives next door, even though having a manse is becoming less and less common. This church and manse have been here long enough that people know the house belongs to the church. The church that has my name on three signs.

I did not like this at all. Awhile back a guy that works on a Ministry Association with me said oh people will ring your bell, just wait for summer. He wasn't kidding!

There is a violation of boundaries here that I am just plain uncomfortable with. It led us to have some good conversations about when we may not open the door. I feel like all these feelings and the uneasiness hours later is normal. However there is just this one nagging feeling, what if this was Jesus at my door? I don't think Jesus and God our the testing kind because of that whole GRACE thing. BUT... God/Jesus if it was you, I am going to need to ask for an extension to complete the assignment?

Today I am so grateful the hubs saw I couldn't put out another fire and that even though he opened the door he thought on his feet. I pray this man with his huge duffel bag found what he needed.

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