Today I got locked in a church.
I'm still trying to figure it out.
St. Casimir on Neff road has a mass at 7:30 AM weekdays.
Attendance is usually sparse: 8 to 12 folks looking for spiritual sustenance before the tasks of the day seize their focus.
We are all strangers momentarily joined together by faith.
There is a palpable sense of family.
We sense that we are all praying for each other.
We are telling each other "I've got your back".
Great comfort in that.
Anyhow, I lingered after mass ended around 8 AM.
A couple of other worshippers carried on a conversation in the pews, whispering concerns about something that weighed heavy on their hearts.
Maybe a serious illness.
Maybe family problems.
I paused to offer a few extra prayers in front of the shrine to the Virgin Mary tucked away on a side altar left of the sanctuary.
Ten minutes passed quickly and I turned to leave.
All the other stragglers had departed.
An eerie feeling.
Holy statues seemed alive around me.
I soaked up the quiet.
Savored the solitude among reminders that I am not alone.
I pressed against the push bar to exit the side door.
Surely not every door was sealed shut.
I was confident that whoever locked up must've noticed me in my reverie.
They would never just lock me in.
But they did.
Every massive oak door locked tight.
Cell phone left in my car.
I investigated the sacristy.
Tried emergency exits.
I grabbed a church bulletin.
Next service: 7:30 AM.
What a surprise awaited the pastor opening next morning to find a bleary-eyed me, hungry, and needing a shave.
How long do they wait before police start looking for you?
I had a client expecting me at 9 AM.
So I sat.
Man, this is gonna make a great story.
Just then I noticed a cloak room in the back off of the vestibule.
It was musty and dark with another door in the corner.
This place had more doors than a Chinese jewelry box.
I pushed and suddenly I was outside in the sunlight.
Dr. Deadbolt had missed this one door.
I was a little late for my appointment but otherwise none the worse for the experience.
As a matter of fact, I think I'm better off.
God drives us to the foot of the cross in ways that shake us clear down to our bones.
Occasionally locking you in a church.
Just when you think there's no way out, sometimes he leaves a door open.
Have faith in God.
And then try all the doors.
One might open for you.
One did for me.