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Elevator Story

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BY REV. CORY L. KEMP |

Finding myself trapped in my building elevator may seem like a harrowing experience to you because you weren’t there. My ninety minutes in
solitary, stationary confinement had its moments. But God is never far from any of us.

Our beloved elevator is a little bit like a fussy neighbor you would miss if they were suddenly gone. It is loud, doesn’t move smoothly and lands not
quite even with the hallway floors. But it shows up when you need it and helps you get the job done as best it can. Usually. Unless it has a bad day.

On the Summer Solstice, our elevator had a bad day.

As I was on board, bringing a box of books to basement storage, I was welcomed to share the bad day and console my old friend in its dotage.

Help came quickly and carried a surprise message: We had taken an unplanned side trip to the fifth floor. Quizzical, for certain, because it
never felt as if we were going up or were stopped from going down. But landing on the fifth floor meant I was already among friends, people whose
faces I knew and voices I recognized from conversations in the hallway.

We knew each other’s names; we had shared stories. While the elevator and I settled down for the repair expert to arrive, estimated at about thirty or forty minutes, my neighbors on the fifth floor brought chairs out to the hallway to sit and wait with us. It became an urban dweller’s equivalent of visiting with the people down the street while out for an afternoon stroll. We caught up with each other’s lives, heard about the new home a family had purchased and a few road trips taken by another.

When the expert arrived to save the rest of the day, he worked quickly, explained what had happened and seemed quite pleased with himself that
he had gotten across town in pretty good time. We celebrated that with him, and asked if he could retrieve a set of keys another neighbor had lost
down the elevator shaft a few days before. He was happy to help and retrieve the keys before he left merrily on his way.

Although ninety minutes may sound like a long time to be in such circumstances, it wasn’t under these circumstances. Yes, sitting on a box of books is not as comfortable as the chair here at my computer nor my sofa; it is, however, infinitely better than sitting on a floor due for cleaning the next day. Thinking about the laundry waiting to be done, another book I was reading that I could have brought along had I known, the uncertainty of how much time this was going to suck out of my day, all crossed my mind.

But so did the obvious work God had done on my behalf, even before I asked for help. There is no way out of and off an elevator that is stuck without help. I felt quite blessed to receive all the help extended to me from those so willing to give in abundance.

Sometimes fear does protect us. But, in moments like these, fear, or even panic, can also become an almost immediate, demanding companion. If
you cling to them, they will brazenly push aside everything else, greedily claiming your full attention. Fear can make it very difficult for you to
remember God is near and ready to help you in whatever way you need.

God is far more pragmatic in solving human dilemmas than you may think. Meanwhile, the elevator, which we have since found out was installed
around 1950, is moving more smoothly between floors again. It’s still a little loud, but who among us is perfect? God is good all the time.


About the Author

Photo of The Rev. Cory L. Kemp.

Photo courtesy of The Rev. Cory L. Kemp.

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom, and joy.


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