Yesterday when I was dropping Bubba off at pre-Kindergarten I was slightly distracted. For no particular reason, really. We were on time and maybe a few minutes early. I was applying for mom of the year so I thought I might ought to wash the blue paint from the day before off of his elbow and talking to another mom on the way in.

But when we walked through the door I got the feeling that something just wasn’t quite right. It was kind of like the ol’spidey senses were tingling. I had a very serious gentleman that worked a very serious job of personal protection (bodyguard to presidents and Margaret Thatcher at points during his career) tell me one time to never, EVER ignore that feeling. So I quickly rushed through the entry of the church and back to the safest part of the building-the preschool area. The tinglies went away and I cleaned Bubba up and sent him into his classroom.

When I started back toward the entry I stopped in the office where I was greeted by Reverend Ann and Kristin, our secretary. They both seemed a bit unnerved and I could hear yelling coming from the men’s room across the hall. Apparently a mentally ill gentleman had come in off the street and confronted/cornered the diminutive Reverend Ann in the office hallway. He was very agitated and threatening in her direction. He was also talking about hearing voices and told the ladies in the area to just ignore these voices if they heard them.

A member of our congregation came in and gave Reverend Ann the opportunity to move to what she considered safer ground and the man left the area (the staff thought he had left the building). Minutes later when the yelling in the bathroom began we knew that this was not so. The gentleman confronted a dad dropping off his child at the preschool and refused to move on. After a few moments of yelling and brushing his teeth he did finally leave the building and the property.

I thought about this gentleman much of the rest of the day. He was very obviously stricken with some form of mental illness. Just from the brief look at him that I got, he looked capable of inflicting harm on any of the women that he had confronted on his path through the building.

I have been unable to reconcile my feelings about this since yesterday. On the one hand there is the mission of our church. The mission statement is “We welcome and serve in the spirit of the living Christ”. Did that man come into our church because he could feel our welcoming? Did he actually feel welcome when he came inside? Did he get any relief from “the voices” once he was with us? How could we have helped him more?

I was thankful he left under his own power and that it was not necessary to have him removed. I am also grateful that no harm came to him or any of our staff or anyone using the building at the time. For me, there is this eternal circle of wishing that I could have done more to help this man, wondering what this would look like and keeping myself and the people around me from coming to harm.

Any thoughts?