Time Out

11 01 2011

I had a time out today, and it wasn’t really the one I expected.  I was working at home again, [our apartment is on the 21st floor] and decided to take a break from my work this afternoon and headed downstairs to check on our mail, and to stretch my legs.  I made sure that I had my keys so I could get back into our apartment, and stepped into one of our three elevators for what I presumed would be a quick ride to the ground level.  The elevator began descending, when all of a sudden, somewhere between the 18th and 19th floors, it lurched to a stop.  I was the only person riding the elevator, and when it didn’t resume moving after a couple of minutes, I realized that I would be spending the next bit of time ‘trapped’ there until someone came and rescued me.  There were many thoughts that came to my mind as I waited for the emergency repair crew to arrive.  The first thing that I remembered was the segment from Bear Gryll’s program on Discovery Channel – Worst Case Scenario – about what to do if you were stuck in an elevator. I heeded his advice & moved to the side wall, just in case it started plummeting 20 floors down to the parking garage – but alas I was never in any danger.

After the security guard for our apartment block assured me that help was on the way, I began thinking – so now what?  How am I supposed to spend next 20-30 minutes of my time?  I realized that I had no cell phone – to either text or phone Debbie to let her know what had happened – or use it to update my calendar with upcoming events and pass the time until I was rescued.  But as I was wondering what I should do, the words of Psalm 46:10 came to mind – “Be still and know that I am God!”  I had already spent time earlier in the day reading and meditating on Scripture, but I realized that I now had the opportunity to take advantage of this time out to just quietly reflect and pray.

So for the next 15-20 minutes while I waited for the emergency crew and the elevator repairman to get the elevator door opened, I had some quality quiet time – alone there in the elevator.  I must say that there wasn’t anything special that came to mind during my time out, but at the same time there was great peace as I waited for the doors to be opened.

When the repairman finally opened the door, and I stepped down onto the 18th floor, I was greeted by two fire and rescue workers, as well as two of the day managers [管理员] from our apartment complex.  After assuring them that I was okay, and that I didn’t need to see a doctor or go to the hospital, I walked up the three floors to our apartment.

Now that I have had a few hours to reflect on the events of this afternoon, I have realized that it probably won’t be the last time that I am stuck in an elevator, especially when you live on the 21st floor of an apartment complex like we do.  But instead of focusing on the negative aspect of being stuck in an elevator, I was thankful for the opportunity to take some time amidst the busyness of my day to reflect and spend time alone with God.   May you be granted God’s perspective in all that you encounter this week.

Until next week,

Joel & Debbie




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