Opening the Door

I almost didn’t open the door.

While I will maintain that I am, overall, far more open and trusting these days than I used to be, there is also an admitted level of jadedness that has come with the particular experience of working with people in need of help.  I’ve heard a lot of stories.  Few of them very coherent for very long.  I’m not a big fan of such stories.  I’m happy to help people, and frankly, I don’t need the story.  But the story is perceived by the teller to be an obligatory part of the process, and that can be exhausting.

So when I heard the knock on the office door, and when I checked the monitor from the secret camera and saw the man with the long hair and scruffy beard and backpack.  I turned around.  We don’t keep petty cash or grocery or gas cards on hand, so there wouldn’t be anything I could do for this guy, and it would suck up 15 minutes of my time.  I looked at the monitor again though, and went back to the door.  This isn’t who I am.  I open doors.  It’s kind of my job.

The young man at the door did indeed have long hair and a scruffy beard and a small backpack.  But overall he was pretty normal looking.  He did want something, but it wasn’t cash or food cards.  He wanted a piano.  Not to take away with him, but just the chance to play on a piano for a little while.  He teaches piano, he said, which to me meant he ought to have access to a piano.  We have several scattered around our facility, but to make sure things were on the up and up, I told him about our weekly Wednesday dinner.  “It’s just a group of us who meet up for dinner each week, but there’s a piano in the hall and you’d be welcome to play on it if you liked,” I offered.  He seemed genuinely pleased with the idea.

He showed up for dinner.  He shared a little of his story, though he’s clearly a quiet sort of thinking guy and not a big talker.  He joined in dinner and then did indeed play the piano, beautifully.  He’s searching for something, I think.  I’m not sure if he found what he was looking for tonight, but he did find a piano, and that made him genuinely happy.  I learned how it could be that he taught piano but had no access to one to practice.  I learned about his decision to avoid technology for the time being.  I invited him to join us again next Wednesday, as well as Sunday morning, and also invited him to play for a monthly luncheon for the visually impaired we hold.

A lot of people tell me that they’re going to come to our church.  Very few do.  I have reason to believe he will.  For worship, at least once, but very definitely for food and fellowship on Wednesdays.  And for piano.  Sometimes opening the door can be difficult and seem pointless.  But sometimes – more often than not, frankly – I’m pleasantly surprised when I do.

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