And What Would I Have Done Anyway??
I work in the church alone. No administrative assistant. No sexton coming and going. The organist who used to make a showing several times a week has retired. Our current music director has a ‘real’ full-time job. We have Bible studies scheduled during the week, but other than that there aren’t many drop-ins. It’s just me and my snoring dog, Scratch. While it may seem paranoid, when we’re here the doors are all locked – both the outside doors and the two doors to my study. One unpleasant, frightening experience of being alone with an unexpected, unstable individual is enough for a lifetime.
It can be kinda creepy in the church when you’re alone. The building has all kinds of unusual sounds, most of which I’ve become accustomed. There are dings and creaks, rattles and pops galore. The floor vibrates when a loaded 18-wheeler rumbles by on the main road out front. There is a ringing, much like the pure tone of a bell, that replies to certain kinds of vibrations. On days when I leave the radio off, I can hear everything.
Yesterday morning I came in to prepare for a Bible study and found my office/study door standing wide open. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I locked it before I left church on Sunday. Of course, the lock can be picked with a paper clip, it’s so flimsy. Nothing seemed to have been bothered. Goodness knows that there’s nothing of value in here to anyone but me. The desktop computer which I never use is eight years old. You can have it – really! The couple who causes so many problems stayed after church Sunday to clean up following communion. I noticed from the manse that they were really late leaving. I don’t know why they would have gone in my study. If they had, I feel sure they would have covered their tracks by locking the door back. It’s a mystery to me.
This morning I came in through our fellowship hall. As soon as I walked in, I smelled cigarette smoke. There is no smoking allowed in our church, not even for the Saturday night AA group. The choir met in the fellowship hall for rehearsal last night. I didn’t notice anything then. Three of us stayed after practice to talk and didn’t leave until 10. And at 8:30, the scent of cigarette smoke. Another mystery.
I made my way down the hall with my attack dog on my heels. (Yeah, right. She’s a scaredy-cat!) I opened every door and went into every room looking for anything that might be out of order. Nothing. I unlocked my study, put my stuff down, and relocked the doors behind me. It smelled strange in the study, too. Not cigarette smoke. Just different.
I’ve been here almost 4 hours now. No new or unfamiliar noises – except for an occasional chuckle when I ask myself, “Now Jan, you think you were so smart checking things out. What would you have done anyway if you’d actually found somebody hiding behind one of those doors?!”