So, this week's word is FEAR:
My life was changed 16 years ago - exactly 16 years and almost 3 months! - when I suffered an attack at the hands of one person who came to the door at the church where I was working. He had actually been there about a month earlier, asked if he could do some work around the church to earn a little money; and when I said we didn't have anything, asked for a cup of water. The first time I opened the door and handed him a cup of water; and he left. (I felt it was my ministry, to the church and its surroundings, to do what I could for those in need).
The second time he came (and I did recognize he had been there before) when I opened the door to hand him the cup of water...he pulled a gun out and shoved me back inside, knocking the cup of water to the floor. When I screamed he hit me, knocking my glasses off my face; then he pulled me through the office door into the fellowship hall. He made me lie on my stomach and tied my hands behind my back; then pulled a cloth from a nearby table and covered my mouth. He kept asking for money, and I did not have any to give him. He kicked me several times in both of my sides and threatened me with the gun. I kept shaking my head and trying to say "no money." I knew all I had was 35 cents and that no money is kept at the church.
Well, I somehow managed to point him to the kitchen where I thought there might be some change in the refrigerator; we kept canned drinks and waters there for members of the church to buy, if needed. When he went to check it out, I slowly got up and went into the office and tried to lock the office door behind me. He realized I had gotten up and ran back across the fellowship hall and busted the door down. He then hit me several more times with the gun and dragged me back across the stage and down the steps into the fellowship hall. He threatened that he would kill me if I tried to get away again. I lay still, as if unconscious (or worse), but still was aware of where he was and what he was doing...and I prayed!
Talk about fear - yes, for once in my life, I was afraid! But, I was more afraid that somebody else would stumble upon what was happening and become another victim. You see, the organist was in the Sanctuary across the courtyard rehearsing for the following Sunday's music; she would not have been able to hear anything until she walked into that part of the building. And there had been several elderly members stop by earlier in the day, including the pastor who was in her 80's!
From where I was lying, I could see him going through my purse; and I could hear him going through the drawers and cabinets in the office - then...I heard nothing. I couldn't be sure if he had left, or even when he did leave. I continued to lie still until I heard my name called..."Barbara?" It was the organist...I just kept praying that he wasn't still there. When I heard my name called, I said "Be sure the bicycle is gone." (Somehow I had worked the cloth from my mouth while lying there).
So, the organist - my rescuer - called 911 and after giving them the information, she came to attend to me; she wiped the blood from my face with a damp paper towel. The emergency units came and checked me out; then took me to the emergency room, where my pastor, my husband and family were contacted.
The following words are the beginning of a poem I attempted to write - sharing a cup of water seems such an easy task to do, doesn't it? And we are called to do just that for our sisters and brothers who are in need. But...could I ever do that again, after what I went through that one day so many years ago?
Only a Cup of Water...
What Could That Hurt?
Just a cup of water, you say?
Whatever I do to the least of these...
I have done to you.
Share a cup of water?
Why, of course, I will -
What could that hurt...?
Reach out to my sister;
Reach out to my brother.
Give what they need -
Share what I have.
Just a cup of water, you say?
What could that hurt?
Could I ever again share with another of God's children? The answer to that last question is - Yes! I can help my sisters and brothers who are in need; but I can do that with the faith and assurance that God is with me...because, He was with the that day; and He is still with me even now as I put these words out there to share with others. And, I refuse to let what happened to me continue to victimize me for the rest of my life. It took me a while to "get over it", as if we ever do completely get over it! But I did - I survived and my life goes on...
I refuse to remain a prisoner of his attack!
And he is not as big as he thought himself to be...
Because now he is the one in prison!