12/19/2008

Room of Rest

In the short alcove leading to the men’s bathroom near my office is a door that, behind it’s coded lock, holds an ice maker. Apparently, quite a few people know the combination because I often see people walking away from the area when I am headed to use the facilities. It is a little disconcerting seeing women walking out of the space and it makes me check the sign on the wall to make sure I am walking into the proper restroom. Every mistaken trip through the wrong door from my past gurgles up and makes me pause and double check. That reminds me of a story...

I began struggling through the Wednesday night service approximately five minutes after the teaching started. My need to urinate was a small blip before church started so I ignored it and again during the break after worship. The urge began to surge from distant to immediate as our pastor was winding up his teaching and I decided I would slip out during the final prayer and deal with the situation before having to battle the crush of people at the end of the service. As soon as everyone settled into their prayer stance, I quietly and slowly walked out through the door in the back of the church and then broke into the familiar “I have got to pee really, really bad but if I run too fast I will regret it” trot. I turned the corner, pushed through the door and walked straight to a stall. Relief was immediate and, not surprisingly, interminable which was punctuated by the band in the sanctuary (pumped through the speakers in the bathroom) playing the song “Everlasting.” I smiled, appreciating the irony.

As things were winding down, the door to the bathroom flew open and a group of boys came rushing in, loud and frenetic. My wife and I had been leading the music for children’s church for several months so I had a feeling that I knew the trouble makers, even though I had no visual verification since I was still in the stall. To scare them I put on my deepest, manly voice and said, “Settle down in here!” It was greeted with dead silence. I chuckled as I zipped my pants and opened the stall door. What greeted me was the wide eyes of five young girls, all cowering in a row, lined up by the sink. I was confused. “What are you all doing in here?” I asked. One of them scrapped up enough courage to whisper, “This is the girl’s bathroom.” The immediate hot flush of humiliation flooded my face as, for the first time, I noticed there were no urinals and I was, in fact, standing in the ladies restroom, looking down on the same faces I saw every Sunday morning. Only now they were not smiling and singing, they were scared.

I muttered an apology and quickly left the bathroom, almost knocking over another lady who was entering. As I fought through the mass of people in the lobby, a small thought began fighting through my embarrassment: “What are those girls going to tell their parents? And what happens after that? This could turn into a huge nightmare of misunderstanding, quick.” I knew I was going to have to explain myself to a number of people, a preemptive confession to, hopefully, hold the outraged parents at bay. I sought out the lady in charge of the children’s ministry and explained what had happened and, fortunately, she thought it was hilarious. I then sought out each parent of the girls and discovered that every one of them already knew, courtesy of their daughters. Some smiled, some laughed, some looked at me a little critically but all gave their forgiveness and the benefit of the doubt. The one concession I made was that I placed a moratorium on the song “I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me” at Children’s Church for at least four months. Oddly enough, no one has requested it since.

3 comments:

Jon said...

That very nearly could have cascaded into a Curb Your Enthusiasm type disaster.

William Colle said...

haha thats one of my favorite stories

Chip MacGregor said...

Thanks for the book, Jay.

-Chip MacGregor