I was running slides at church a few weeks ago, and it was that seemingly elastic stretch of time between services. Where it seems like you have all the time in the world until suddenly the band is taking the stage and you better be in your seat ready to hit the lyric slide for "Louder Than The World."
Since our church has moved locations to a place further down Hollywood Blvd., we don't quite get the stream of crazies that we used to. Sure, there's a few bums that like to sleep in the space between us and the fire station next door. I figure they like to think they're covered either way with blessings from God or water from a hose.
But we don't get the crazies who sometimes bum rushed the middle of the service and made things interesting like we used to. Which is slightly sad.
But here I am, in between services, wolfing down a granola bar. I sit in a little alcove sandwiched in the far corner, and most people don't even know I'm there, they walk right past me, which is totally fine.
But I hear one of the ushers talking. Or perhaps enduring is a better word. Because there's a gentleman rambling his brain off to the usher in what the gentleman thinks is conversation, but more is passing for something like a cross between a rant and a lament.
“It's your HEART (mumble, mumble, mumble) in your SOUL! (mumble mumble mumble) your HEART!”
Now granted, I only hear bits and pieces of the conversation. I do not know what part of the train of thought “your heart” and “your soul” occupy in this rambling. I don't know what the thesis is that he's trying to get across.
But I do know that the volunteer usher feels pinned down. Because I keep hearing her say, “Yes... Yes.. YEP! Yes... Yes... Yeah.” in that way that clearly communicates I am stuck in a conversation with a somewhat crazy person. Okay, he might not be crazy. But he's not all the way there. And I can't excuse myself from the conversation because I'm a volunteer usher and I'm supposed to greet people coming into the sanctuary. So I can't walk away from this potentially crazy person. But I have a feeling he's not going to leave me alone.
Yep, I got all of that from her “Yep.” You would have gotten it too, had you been there and heard it.
So off I go to get the helpful security staff, who are trained to politely deal with people like this. I don't make eye contact with the volunteer usher, though, because I'm worried I'll catch the eye of the not-all-there gentleman, and say what you will about the Potentially Crazy people, but almost all of them do this: if they know they have an audience, they'll usually escalate.
So I head outside and grab the first security person I see. And he goes inside, where another security person is already on the scene, chatting up the not-all-there gentleman and gently escorting him away.
I smile at the volunteer usher and say, “Don't worry, I had your back.” And she smiles at me and thanks me, even though I wasn't number one with the Help Brigade.
But it occurred to me, how many times has God had my back and I had no idea? That I was doing my best to be polite and endure a situation and thinking I was on my own? Until help came out of nowhere and I realized He was behind the scenes, tinkering around with stuff and figuring out who to send to me for help.
I must try to remember that more often.