photo by Sheri Dixon

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

No Seal of Approval For Me

*tap tap tap*

"Ma'am? Can you hear me?"

(Inner twinge of irritation since we're not even open for business yet)

"Yes- I can hear you".

"I'm sorry to bother you, but my car broke down and I'm trying to get to church for a meeting- do you think I could use your phone...I'm not a homeless person".

(What? What difference does she think THAT would make?)

I told Becca, the only other employee there, to let her in and let her use the phone. When she came through the door I told her "You know, if you WERE homeless I'd still let you use the phone" and she kind of laughed, nervously.

She was maybe mid-thirties, a little overweight, breathing hard and kind of clicking- perhaps asthma-ish, carrying a huge satchel type purse, and of a different race from myself.

No one answered at the other end of the line.

"I've just got to get to this meeting at church- do you think I could trouble either of you for a ride? I have friends also going who are meeting at a church just past Walmart". (About 5 miles from where we were).

I told Becca "I'll be right back", and to answer her worried expression I asked the woman "You're not planning on carjacking me or anything, are you?".

"No, ma'am. I'm surely not".

Good enough for me.

We made small talk on the way to the church. Her mom had just had surgery and was in rehab. She asked me about my children. We talked about my work. She asked where I go to church. I said "We don't go to church".


I thought she'd undone her seat belt because it was uncomfortable, with her being a little overweight and all, and her breathing labored, and I know when stressed *I* get claustrophobic...I didn't think much about it.

We pulled into the church parking lot, or as into the lot as we could go with the gate locked. "Honey- there's no one here" I said.

She looked even more worried than before and re-fastened her seat belt as we backed out of the driveway. It was getting dark outside. I asked (even knowing I shouldn't) "Where is the meeting you need to be at and what time is it?"

Another 5 miles up the road. She said "You need to get back to work" (true enough) "There's a bus stop right up here- if you drop me off I'll be fine".

The bus doesn't GO the direction she needed to go. I told her "I am not dumping you off at a bus stop in the dark. Just tell me where the meeting church is".

More small talk. "So do you just not have TIME to go to church?" she asked hesitantly.

"Nope. I went when I was younger, but I don't go anymore".


Since I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, it took me almost an hour after dropping her at the meeting church (to many "thank you"s and "God bless you"s and after declining the $3 in her purse for gas money) to realize what she had been doing.

Every time I verified that I do NOT attend church on a regular basis, she undid her seat belt...why?

So she could bail out of the moving vehicle if I did something...satanic?

She'd said how she appreciated my taking her where she needed to go even though I didn't know her- the meeting was for people who need assistance paying their utilities and food bills and rent- and I'd told her that my husband has been sick a lot and we've been helped by many people we didn't really "know" in real life and how we feel very strongly that if we are able to help anyone who needs it, we are morally bound to do so.

My Thanksgiving Eve encounter made me laugh on the one hand- because I'm clearly so dangerous. But it really makes me sad as well- after extending help, sharing some of my family's life outlook in regards to caring for our fellow humans, the mere fact of our being "churchless" made me somehow threatening to her.

Despite all evidence to the contrary by word or deed, if I couldn't claim membership to the Club of Believers, I'm not to be trusted fully.

I'm thankful for my family- my entire human family...with or without Church Homes.


  1. she must have felt that if you were in the 'club' that you were safe. Like only non-believers are immoral disgusting beings.

    On that note; Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Ah Sheri, you are a good egg and that is hard for people who only know they are good because some one else tells them to be to comprehend.