Sorry for the poor and inconsistent writing in this post. I took it from my Facebook page, where I wrote it for speed, not for prettiness.
I have an acquaintance who lives on the street, on and off. I won’t call her a friend, because I’ve found that she’s not like a lot of the people I meet, with whom I can have good (if disagreeing) conversations about this or that. It’s not that I dislike her, but she’s not really a friend.
Anyway, she had disappeared for a while. About 2 months ago, she called me from Kansas, wanting me to drive up there and bail her out of jail. (Uh, no.) Then I stopped hearing from her again. Until yesterday. She was at the church, where I was swinging in to pick something up, then head out to go visit my friend in hospice care. I saw her under the steps, sleeping or reclining, but being felt up by some dude that I had caught the week before pissing on the church building. They both got up when I arrived, and they left pretty quickly.
Today, 15 minutes before online church started, just after our musician came into the building, I see this acquaintance, who had slipped in through the door when the musician didn’t fully close it behind her. So I had just finished talking to my niece about my mom’s health issues, was trying to get with the musician to get our sound levels sorted, and then we had just begun, when C showed up in the front pew. We made eye contact, then she darted out of the building.
I heard the door open and shut, and in comes C again. Musician is doing first and second reading, so I dash out to say, “Hey! I’m sorry, but I can’t help with anything today. I’ve got a parishioner friend on hospice care, then I have to deal with my family who believes my mom might be dying.” She goes, “Well, do you at least have a book?” “What? A particular book?” “No, just any book.” “Uh, well, here’s a Bible, but you have to go. I’m in the middle of stuff.” “Can’t I stay for worship?” “Well, no. The building is closed because of Covid.” On and on this goes until I have to go back in to read the Gospel.
We go through the rest of the service, but I keep noticing that C is walking back and forth, in and out of the door. Turns out, she let in two friends. AFTER I had told her we were closed. “Well, I have to use the restroom and there’s nothing you can do about it. Deal with it.” Now I’m pissed. “Pee, then go. We are done.”
I go to talk to the friends, who seem fine. C has told me her male friend, who was there in a wheelchair, was actively dying. According to him, though, he had walked through some broken glass and needed to go to the hospital. I said, “Well, I have to go, but can’t these two lady friends of yours wheel you over to Hillcrest?” “No, I can’t go there. I need to go to the hospital in Bixby and I have no way to get there.” “Call an ambulance, maybe?” “I don’t have a phone.” “We’ll call FOR you, but you have to go outside.” (There is Zero evidence this guy has walked through broken glass. As I said, he’s sitting in a wheelchair with no footrests, so now he’s using in their stead an extra-wide skateboard on a string. Don’t ask me. This is all dream material. Bizarre.)
C comes out, tells me again about how this guy is dying, and in the meantime, C’s friends have gotten the message, so they’re packing their stuff up. But C keeps telling me how she’s tired of all this shit from God, and really starting to get into her delusional mindframe, for which I have less than no time right now.
Musician and friend Carie (who also slipped in through a door that was supposed to be shut, but she was there as support and not as an antagonist, plus she was wearing a mask) back me up, telling them that they;ve been asked to go. We finally shuffle them out the door where they’re supposed to wait for the ambulance we’ve called. Instead the cops showed up (after I left), and C decided to chug a bottle of M/D 2020 (fitting) right in front of them.
The scripture reading for today was the story of Jesus walking on water, literally treading upon chaos. And he (via Matthew) was teaching us also to trust – not to grasp onto faith like a piece of flotsam, but to let go in trust. Guess I was preaching as much to myself as to anyone else this morning. But it’s easier said than done. Like anyone else, I default to assumptions based on the rational mind, even when it’s clear that rationality isn’t the tool I need for this task at hand, but rather a non-grasping trust that a hand will reach out and grab me when I sink.
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