In the Wrong

Women RR signI spent my morning on Friday sitting in the local Panera planning and processing a few ideas for my job. Throughout college, I spent most of my time studying and preparing for presentations or exams there while devouring my body weight in their scrumptious blueberry bagels and hazelnut coffee. When given the opportunity to have an off-site work day once a month, I knew exactly where I wanted to go.

There’s something inspiring to be among people as I work, watching and observing from All-Sons-And-Daughters-blaring-through-my-earbuds-while-feverishly-typing-away corner of the room. It’s as if I’m seeing a improv dance routine take place. Everyone moving at their own pace. Ordering, talking, laughing, eating. . . it’s simply beautiful. While the my recent change in diet has forced me to sacrifice on the blueberry bagel (still working on finding a good gluten-free recipe), I still was able to order a large cup of coffee, which I refilled more than I’d like to admit.

It was about the time I was wrapping up my brainstorming session that those ______ cups of coffee refocused my attention to another part of the restaurant. The restroom. Seeing as it was approaching the lunch hour and business was picking up, I decided to open up some real estate for someone else to enjoy, took my things to my car and hurriedly made my way back into the building.

Rushing past the crowds, I burst through the door without breaking stride and was just about to open the stall door when something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. I turned my head to see a urinal on the side of the bathroom. Now, most of you would have immediately realized you were in the wrong  bathroom, but I can’t lie. My first thought was, “That’s weird. Why did they install a urinal in the women’s restroom?” Luckily, another thought immediately interjected my mind and caused me to realize I was indeed in the wrong restroom. As swiftly as I darted through the wrong door I made my way out and into the proper room, hoping (no, praying) no one would catch me correcting my mistake.

Fast forward through a few details and I am red-faced and giggling at myself in the car over what just took place. Did that seriously just happen to me? I obviously was so focused on myself and my needs that I failed to follow the signs marking the answer to my problem.

As funny as Friday’s experience was, it’s amazing how many times I’ve found myself in other similar situations. When facing a problem, I ignore the signs for help and direction God has placed in my path and I end up standing in the middle of a terrible, embarrassing or just plain sinful situation. What’s even worse is I don’t always immediately realize where I am. The longer we refuse to spend time with God and humbly seek Him, the harder it is to hear His voice and notice His direction. Any situation of pain or struggle, whether physical, emotional or relational is terrible and we must acknowledge it, but when we begin to idolize the pain and allow it to control us, we drift further and further away from God’s direction, healing and restoration. Over time, the problem becomes the only thing we can see and builds a barrier over our heart and eyes, inhibiting us from seeing or accepting truths God is trying to share with us.

The good news? In each problem I’ve been in, I eventually realized where I was (thank you, God!). Sometimes I was standing outside the door. Other times I was in the middle of the room, staring at the urinal and wondering why it was in the wrong restroom. No matter how deep I was in a wrong situation or how unlike Jesus I was behaving, I still got the opportunity to turn around and walk in the right direction. There’s a bit of shame and embarrassment, a bit of giggles at foolish decisions, but a whole lot of thankfulness for God providing a way out.

I love the way God uses embarrassing situations in our life to reveal truths to us. You better believe the next time I am faced with a problem, I will pause and look around to see if my surroundings are what they should be. Until then, I am simply going to try and make sure I avoid being in the wrong room. . .  because I probably won’t be lucky enough to walk into an unoccupied room the next time. 🙂

Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.



Cops at 4AM

Yesterday, Tomy and I had the privilege (HA!) of waking up at 4AM to the sound of cops barging in our apartment. Here’s the story as told by my non-abusive husband:

About 4:20 this morning, my wife Mendy and I slowly stirred to the sound of distant knocking. We were in the bedroom of our apartment with the door closed and two high-power fans running, so the knocking seemed especially far away. Because it sounded so far away, we both agreed that it was coming from a different apartment and ignored it. After about ten minutes of sporadic knocking, I finally got up to inspect and by the time I got to the peep-hole, there was no one outside. As I feared, our puppy Zimri who sleeps in the living room in his kennel thought it was time to get up and started whimpering (which is partially why I avoided going to inspect the knocking sooner).

After confirming that the knocking was coming from a different apartment, we both went back to bed and tried to get the most of the time we had left to sleep. A short five minutes later (Zimri whimpering most of those five minutes), we heard the knocking again. This time I immediately got up and checked the peep-hole again. Nothing. About 20-25 minutes went by and I was just almost asleep again when suddenly we heard our front door open which caused our bedroom door to slam shut due to the pressure change (it was only open an inch or so). Instantly I shot out of bed and ran to the living room hoping that I wasn’t about to have to fend off some would-be-attackers. I truthfully probably would have preferred the attackers.

I was met in the living room with two bright flashlights shining in my face and a booming voice telling me to sit on the couch and summoning Mendy from the bedroom. They immediately informed us that they were there on a domestic disturbance call and began to check Mendy’s face and neck for bruises. They went on to question us about the fight we had apparently had just a few minutes prior. Obviously we both denied it because the only fighting we had done within the hour was fighting to get back to sleep from the annoying knocking. They scolded us for not opening the door for them and encouraged Mendy to press charges against me. After we continued to insist that they must be mistaken, they informed us that the tenant below us who called in the domestic disturbance was a police officer himself and asked if we were implying that he was lying.

I kept trying to tell the officer that I wasn’t intending to call the man a liar, I was simply suggesting that he must be mistaken as to the source of the noises. Because the bedroom in our apartment doesn’t share a single wall with a neighbor, they insisted that there was no way he could have made a mistake. Eventually they called him up and he explained that the brutal beating he had heard was an outrage (with which I certainly agreed) and that he wouldn’t stand for it. To him it was a shame that Mendy wouldn’t press charges so that they could rescue her from this abusive situation. Once I realized that they weren’t going to believe us no matter what we said and once they realized that I wasn’t going to admit to beating my wife or Mendy to being beaten, they left and Mendy and I sat on our couch for about 20-25 minutes feeling confused, shaken, violated and generally upset; I took Zimri down to use the restroom. As I descended the steps I saw that the cops (including the one that lived below us) had reconvened outside on the ground level. To my horror, they were summoning me again.

I walked Zimri over to where they were just knowing that I was going to be arrested. After a few moments of puzzled staring, the man who lives below us apologized stating that he had apparently been confused. I’ll say! We live on the third floor in our apartment complex and apparently the unfortunate incident that  had taken place had occurred in the apartment directly below him rather than in ours. He and the other officers apologized profusely and explained that 80-90% of the domestic disturbance calls received by the police are denied by both the husband and wife. For some sad reason the abused wife will lie for her husband and cover for him so they thought that was what was going on.

It felt good to know that I wasn’t going to have to pass my downstairs neighbor every day in the parking lot and have him think I am a wife abuser. He promised he’d be back when he left our apartment, but hopefully now that it has been cleared up he’ll only visit for coffee and cupcakes!

I love my wife and I’d never do that to her! (Hopefully the rest of our neighbors read that statement and accept our apologies for the screaming police officers in our apartment this morning).