I raced into the elevator as usual - frantic, arms loaded and irritated that my phones synchronization with the real estate listing site would be interrupted when I stepped into the ancient elevator. Mrs. Clarksmire, the client I was running late for, said this 1920’s building has the kind of figure all woman dream of - firm, elegant and curvy. I’d agreed with her because there’s a commission at stake, but I regretted it every time I stepped into that elevator.
I didn’t intend to be the top real estate agent in the city. It was supposed to be a part-time, add-to the-family-income, kind of thing. I never dreamed I’d be really good at it. I went from having a flip phone, a shared family computer and a station wagon with manual windows, to being a Twitterpated, Facebonked, ear phoned, walking office.
The gate closed and then the steel door. It began the slow, creaky ascent I’d come to expect. Halfway between the sixth and seventh floors the shaking began, slowly at first and then so violently that the cab beat against the elevator shaft for what seemed like hours. I fell to the ground screaming, cracking my head against the metal door.
I don’t know how long I was out but I woke up with a basketball game playing inside my skull. Holding my throbbing head, I felt around in the darkness, not sure if I was blind, or if there was no light. My hand skimmed along the floor and found pieces of my computer. Behind me, I found my phone. When I touched it, the screen lit up. Relief flooded my eyes and poured on the floor.
But – darn! – no bars. I struggled to my feet and used the light from my phone to look around. The contract for Mrs. Clarksmire was scattered on the floor and my computer was in too many pieces to count. I looked on the panel for the emergency phone and lifted it – it was dead. I leaned against the wall and slunk to the ground. The basketballs slammed on.
After a stunned minute, I found my shoe and started banging the heel against the metal door. When that didn’t work, screaming seemed like the next logical step but it made the basketballs go from slamming to exploding.
Finally, I sat in silence and listened for sounds in the building. Aside from an occasional echo far away, I heard nothing.
“Focus on breathing slow deep breaths,” the survival expert had instructed the kids, Daniel and I when we took a course on our last vacation. I tried to remember what else he’d said by picturing the class but I could only see his lips moving. No sound came out.
“Please, God! Don’t let me die in here alone,” came out of nowhere, but once it passed my lips I agreed in my heart with what I’d said.
“Yes, please! Please, God.”
I remembered the Bible software that Daniel had loaded onto my smart phone. I’d chided him at the time saying, “What I need is more hours in the day Danny, not more documents to read.”
But, the glow from phone highlighted the icon and I pressed it.
Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you,” I read aloud the verse of the day. Just as I finished the sentence, the screen went blank; the phone battery died.
I moaned and threw the phone, collapsed onto my face, and sobbed great heaving cries. The tears seemed to come from a very deep pipe that had burst and it gushed out into the stale air. I dared to hope it went beyond those walls.
Cries became whispers; whispers became prayers. That cramped metal box became a sanctuary. The cold, hard center of the building became a cathedral on the highest mountain. I talked to Him about what happened to Daddy when I was four and about missing my mom since she’d died. I asked for His forgiveness for ignoring Jesus when Danny shared about Him. Every thought; every sadness; every pain.
I went in and out of consciousness for two days. Then, there was pounding on the seventh floor and within three hours light burst into my sanctuary.
After one of the fireman helped lift me out of the cab, he handed me my phone.
I shook my head and walked away, realizing that full synchronization had happened after all.
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