Hey God, thanks for the clunk

Singer-songwriter, John Phillips, penned these heartfelt words in his famous song about Monday—“Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day.”

Mr. Phillips’ lyrics captured the way Monday, March 8 started out for me.

A little after 7 a.m. I received a phone call from Kim, one of our church staff members. Kim was reporting to me that the fire alarm panel for the building was beeping. 

Beeping sounds from a fire panel are annoying. This is because the sound is high pitched and ear piercing. But, what was even more irritating is that despite Kim hitting all the right prompts to silence the alarm, the panel was not cooperating.

I told Kim I would be at church as soon as I cleared the frost off of my car windshield.

When I entered the hallway by the office, I could hearing the panel’s beep. At the panel, the beep was inconsistent. It would loudly beep for several seconds, and then there was silence. But, that pause was short lived.

I followed the same prompts for silencing the beep that Kim had, and I too had no luck. Thankfully, the panel was not reporting any actual alarms. So, I put in a call for service to the company who we contract with to silence an unhappy panel.

After verifying that she was talking with an authorized idiot, this nice representative from the panel maker, walked me through some different prompts to mute the beep. Like a stubborn child rebelling against a parent, the beep wasn’t cooperating.

I asked if we could take the system off line until a technician could arrive, but that option would not bring quietness. So, a ticket was written for a technician to battle the panel. I thanked the representative for her help, and let her move on to another beeping customer.

I thought to myself, no duct tape application here, but maybe I should go to the tool shed and grab the sledge hammer. I’ll bet that will silence the uncooperative beeping panel. But, the rational part of my brain talked me out of that option.

However, my internal voice told me I should check the mechanical rooms and the room that houses the sprinkler system controls. I let Kim know that a technician for the panel had been requested, and I told her I was going to make sure the mechanical rooms were ok.

In the Trinity Hall mechanical room, all appeared fine until I looked a little closer. I saw two puddling streams of water going in different directions. My eyes scanned further to confirm that the 65 gallon hot water heater was leaking. 

Not seeing any obvious leaks at any connections, I went to my knees and looked under the tank. There I saw the dripping. Not thinking about where I was, I rose quickly pivoted around, took a couple of steps, and clunk. The top of my head collided with the bottom of a low hanging relief valve.

At that very moment, God was not pleased with my choice of words.

Immediately,  alarms were beeping in heaven—we have a head clunk language violation transmitting from 903 Forest Avenue.  It is a name in vain breech. This is lifetime name in vain breech 6,771 for William Avery Pike, Jr. 

The non-Sunday school language continued as I exited the mechanical room. I could sense a warm oozing on the top of my head. I hustled back to the church office, grabbed some paper towels, and put slight pressure on the point of the collision.

Kim took a look at the cut, and confirmed it wasn’t deep enough to merit a trip to the emergency room. With the bleeding under control, I walked toward the Eaton Hall mechanical room. More good news awaited me there as I noted the steam boiler for the Sanctuary was in alarm. 

I told myself to check it later, and I headed toward the control room for the sprinkler system in the basement of the Preschool. Thankfully, this system was working properly.

“Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day.”

At this point, I headed home to cleanup the valve cut and to eat breakfast. 

Back at church, we loaded the pickup truck from Friday’s food collection to deliver to the Welborne food pantry.

Good news, the fire panel technician had arrived. He found a circuit that had decided to misbehave. The technician was working his magic to bring the rebellious circuit back on line.

At some point in the early afternoon, a loud pop was heard coming from the copying room. With the pop, we lost internet service to our building. Kim put in a call to the company who takes care of our technology.

When their technician arrived, he discovered the backup battery system for the server had decide to croak. The technician was able to reroute some power connections to the server, and in a few sluggish seconds the internet service returned to the building.

“Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day.”

I spent the remainder of my afternoon prepping for the monthly Trustees’ meeting at 5:30. Since the arrival of our pal the pandemic, the Trustees have been meeting via Zoom. 

By 7, the Trustees meeting had come to a conclusion. The swirl of topics, discussions, and decisions had my clunked old noggin even more— it was running on empty.

I was ready to go home.

“Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day.”

Monday gets a bad rap. Things can go wrong on any day of the week.

A beeping panel, a leaking hot water heater, a head clunk, a boiler in alarm, and a backup battery expiring are nothing compared to what some people experience during the course of a day.

Right now, there is a person out there beeping just like that fire alarm panel.

That human being is beeping because their internal circuits are on overload.

Every problem in that old church building today had a solution—the help from another human being.

Sometimes, God clunks our noggins to help us to see and understand—this world is still upside down. As badly as we want it, normal is still a long way off.

Getting to normal depends on us. It means taking God’s clunks, his reminders, as a way to find those people in our community who are beeping. 

God needs us to work cooperatively, he needs us to work smarter, he needs us to help those who are beeping. 

Be ready, the next God clunk might be for you.

My friend the relief valve Photo by Bill Pike

1 thought on “Hey God, thanks for the clunk”

  1. So much truth in this. Our country is on a down hill slide. Wish we could ban most TV shows,murder and so much violence. Life on Front Street, the wonderful TV shows of wholesome home life and trying each day to live a Godly life are a distant memory. Take care, Bonnie


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