Occasionally, though, I get thrown the analogical curveball or change up. Even then, with years of practical experience dealing with surprises, I’m rarely left struggling with what the right course of action to take might be.
That was not the rare case this particular Sunday. It was a no-win situation. While out of town we found a friendly little church a few years back while on vacation.
We were sitting about four rows back on the south side of the church closest to the front door, which is typically my style. I like to make a quick get away. Several minutes after the service started a very elderly man shuffled into the church, having a more legitimate use for a cane than anybody I’ve witnessed.
As the late comer eyed the seat directly in front of me, he hobbled, lost a bit of balance and bumped into me, helping to keep him upright. The elderly gentleman settled into the seat directly in front of me.
I knew that my new neighbor wasn’t going to be doing any standing for praying or singing… Though frail, I can’t remember a person singing with as much enthusiasm as the old timer. I’m not sure if the old guy knew he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket or not. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have mattered to him one way or the other. Just one of the gifts of being very elderly, or so I’ve heard.
The old fella had long, past his shoulders scraggly hair extending from the sides of his head with a worn, sun-spotted, round, bald spot on top.
During the middle of the service, something caught my eye on the old guy’s faded black windbreaker. I first thought it was a fly, but it quickly crawled from under his collar, just above his left shoulder. I did a double take as it moved quickly to the old guy’s back and over his right shoulder where it disappeared from my view.
That’s when I realized what it was… It was black, about a size and a half bigger than a horse fly with short, quick, legs. It was a black spider…
There I was, at a loss for what to do or how to react. I knew the spider wasn’t a black widow, but I wasn’t completely positive it wasn’t poisonous.
In a church where no one knows me, I’m not sure how they would have reacted if I’d have gotten up and announced, “OK!!! – TIME OUT!!! – I’ve spotted a black spider on the old guy in front of me!!! – I think you’ll find the culprit hiding under his collar!!!”
I thought about using my bulletin as a spider swatter, but didn’t want them calling the cops for attacking an innocent old guy in the middle of a church service. Not to mention it might’ve caused him to have a heart attack.
It was a no-win proposition. What did I do? … I didn’t do anything except keep an eye out for the church going spider…
Then I prayed for the old man’s protection…
It’s all I could think of in a no win situation. Maybe that’s the problem with many of us… We wait until we’ve ran out of options… then pray…