I had a bit of an unplanned and unwanted adventure last week. I was abandoned- completely left alone and without many reasonable options to help myself…or so I thought. When I think back on the whole story I realize there are lots of lessons to be learned. So I wanted share my adventure with you– maybe to help you in some way and maybe just to make you feel better that you didn’t have this experience yourself. Most importantly to talk about feelings of abandonment and how it’s simply not true.
Cutting to the chase…I got locked out of the office I was in after hours in a city where I really know no one and my keys, ID, cash, credit cards, computer and cell phone were on the opposite side of the locked door. I had a key card with me, but it wouldn’t work. It took me a few moments to realize what had happened (darn those automatically locking doors), but when it came to me I immediately inventoried all my options.
Over a nearly two hour time frame I did the following:
1. Tried all the possible doors to see if my key card worked with any of them (no luck).
2. Used the employee phone outside of the office entrance to page anyone who might still be inside (no response).
3. Went to other floors in the building to look for any open offices who might be able to call security for me (no one was around).
4. Looked for the security office and/or security officer (not found).
5. Used the emergency phone on the elevator to see if the operator on the other line could contact security for me (they didn’t have security’s number…(really?)).
6. With trepidation called 911 on the employee phone I found (it worked- I got an outside line) to see what they could do to help (I asked to be transferred to the non-emergency line btw). They offered to have the fire department come and break down the door (that would be no).
7. Asked police to open the lock of the rental car I had where I thought an extra set of keys was sitting (they don’t do that anymore–they offered to call a towing company to come get my car and tow it off and then open it- that still wouldn’t have gotten me back into the office though).
8. Asked police to call the hotel where I was staying to have them bring the courtesy van to pick me up (the hotel said I was out of their range but they would call a taxi– I had no money or credit cards to pay with as they were locked in the office. I couldn’t even verify that I was who I said I was).
9. Considered walking back to the hotel, but it would have been highway only and it was about 8:00 at night by that time). Asked if the police would drive me back to the hotel and they basically said they didn’t do that (don’t they help get cats out of trees any more?).
10. Finally bumped into the security officer-whose key didn’t work either, but he knew the cleaning people could help. They weren’t in the building yet.
10. Called my husband on the employee line (it let’s you make long distance calls apparently), about 700 miles away, to just hear a loving voice and maybe get some new ideas I hadn’t thought of.
I was abandoned. I was lost. I was alone. I figured I’d be sleeping on the floor by the elevator until early the next morning when someone came to open the office door. That would be neither comfortable nor a pretty sight. I was coming close to giving up. My emotions were building as I was facing more and more rejection.
As I “McGyvered” through this experience I prayed…often. I kept asking God to keep me safe and to give me wisdom. I prayed for an answer. Ultimately an answer came. It was nearly two hours into my dilemma. As I was at my wit’s end calling my husband and starting to blubber, the elevator door to the floor I was on opened. Out came the security officer and one of the most beautiful people I had ever seen. It was someone from the cleaning crew and he had a key that opened the door to the barrier that kept me from freedom and sanity. He had the most beautiful smile and I was soooooo grateful. I gathered my belongings and high-tailed it out the door being sure the two gentlemen who rescued me heard me say thank you (over and over again).
In processing the night’s events I kept coming back to the concept of “feeling” abandoned ( add that to anger and frustration). I was relatively safe. Yet, I was alone-disconnected. It was an awful feeling. The longer it lasted, the greater my fears became. The broader my impatience grew. I was completely alone.
I have had those feelings before, but in completely different context. Usually it’s when I let Satan get a hold of me and listen to him telling me I’m not worth anything, I’m not important, not loved, not…you name it. But, it’s so not true. We don’t always understand our circumstance, but we are never alone.
My event in the office building is nothing compared to the trials and tribulations through history that left people in lands they were unfamiliar with, where they didn’t speak the language, or where people are dealing with illness and relationship uncertainty. It did evoke the feeling of being left alone though. That led me to remember once again beautiful words like: He will never leave you, and like these:
Psalm 3:5 I lay down and slept. I woke up in safety for the Lord was watching over me.
Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for you.
Psalm 16:8 I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.
Psalm 46:1-2 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if the earth quakes and the mountains crumble into the sea.
I could go on and on, but I’ll save that for future messages. God must have known I needed the reassurance that even in crazy predicaments, He is right next to me. He knows my needs. He provides for me. Maybe I needed this little blip in my life to remind me of something much more important. It made me reflect on His promises so I guess He accomplished something that night. I am not alone. Neither are you.