Sunday, June 29, 2008

Locking my office door

It happens quite often. Sometimes I end up being the only person in the building on Fridays. I don't mean just in my office - I mean the only person in a three story building. I can tell because A. I don't hear anybody rustling about and B. The parking lot is empty except for my car. (good clue)

This isn't a huge deal really, except it kinda gives me the "goons". I admit it. I come in through the back door on the bottom floor and I usually don't unlock it. But I always unlock the door that comes in from the front on the 2nd floor. From that front door, you can come right on into my office.

Friday was just one of those days where I was the only one in the building for most of the day. I did see a car that belonged to someone on the 3rd floor, but he wasn't there all day. So - at one point in the morning, I heard someone out in the hallway say "Hello?" I answered "Hello?" Nothing. So, being full of hospitality, I walked out to the hallway and said again "Hello?" There was a man standing out in the hallway with a backpack. He proceeded to tell me that he was homeless and he came in to use the bathroom. I told him to go right ahead.

He began talking to me about a wide variety of things including the fact that "people" made fun of his nationality, the fact that he left a bunch of friends "over there" and that his father had given him advice to just go out and live life. No advice at all about sex. He already had a son at that time, so his father didn't think it was necessary to talk about sex.

The feeling of hospitality was quickly escaping my body. It was being replaced by fear. He asked my name and I told him Sheryl. He said "Sara?" .... I said yes. He said his name was Vince.

The phone in my office rang - I excused myself to answer it - he kept talking. I finally went to answer the phone. It was a recording about the warranty on my car expiring. I absolutely HATE those phone calls - but that's another issue altogether. The thing is, it gave me a chance to call the people downstairs to come up and help me. They didn't answer their phone. I called Jay quickly and had him stay on the line with me.

I went back out to the hallway and he wasn't there - so I shut my office door and locked it. In about 2 minutes he knocked on my door. Reluctantly, I answered it. He told me all he needed was a few dollars. I went to my purse and gave him $20 and even though I know there is something wrong about me expecting a thank you, I was annoyed that he didn't say it. I know - I know. I admit that it wasn't given with a cheerful heart. It was given with the hopes that he would leave. He didn't. He kept on talking. I advised him to go to the church across the street and perhaps they could give him accomodations for the evening etc. He wasn't interested. He said he wasn't a Christian but his brother's first name was Christian. Then he asked me if I remembered his name. I said Vince? He said no, it's VINCENT!!! Sorry.

I was scared and so I told him I had to get to the phone because someone was still there. He kept on talking and I just wished that someone would come up the elevator and help me. I was on my own though, and not doing a very good job at it. In reality, this was a perfect opportunity for me to share my faith with him, but I didn't have the courage to do it - not that I was fearful of sharing. I was just fearful of him.

Rachael told me that God wouldn't give me the spirit of fear and I know that's true. I just couldn't find a place within myself to get there. I was too busy trying to figure out how to get rid of him.

Finally, I got back to the phone and I eventually heard the front door close. Jay was still on the phone and we discussed whether I thought he really left or not. I can hear the bathroom doors open and shut and I hadn't heard that. But I quickly went and shut and locked my office door just to be sure. There was nobody else in the building at that time, so I just stayed where I was until about 1 o'clock. Finally, somebody from the office next door came in and I ventured out to the bathroom and to get something to eat from the kitchen.

What did I learn from this situation?
#1 I'm kinda scared when I get into situations I'm not in control of.
#2 I can't share my faith as easily as I thought I could.
#3 I'm sorry to say - homeless people who are agressive scare me.
#4 From now on, if I am the only person in my office, the office door stays shut and locked.

This isn't really a glowing testimony for me. It may border on pathetic. Maybe I did the right thing, maybe I didn't. I do know this. Under my own strength, I am nothing.


Chelsie said...

Reason #874 not to live in the city!

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