Sunday, I am sitting in church, and that is exactly what I do *bowing my head in shame* :(
A gentleman wearing a very crumpled shirt, carrying a polythene bag fully packed with what looked like clothing (I was curious so I stretched my neck to look) was ushered to sit on the same pew as me yesterday in church. I wasn't so curious about the crumpled shirt (stopped judging based on that since dumsor started), but I really was wondering about the bag he carried. I honestly saw what looked like a towel on top and clothing on the side, and what I so didn't get was, he left the bag a few feet away from himself by one of the pillars in the church (curious, very curious).
I have this thing where when I see someone, I don't know them, something about them piques my interest, and then I try to figure out what their story is, usually not by doing the obvious, asking them, but making one up for them (turns out to be more interesting).
Not only did this gentleman have me interested in the fact that he was carrying a polythene bag with what appeared to me, to be all his earthly possessions, which he had placed a few feet away from where he sat, but he slept throughout the service. Most people would just doze off during the sermon, but he slept, not dozed, slept through it all.
Initially, I concluded he was homeless and just needed a place to rest his tired, and most likely arching body. This conclusion meant I felt sorry for him. But then it didn't quite add up because his clothes (what he had on), though very crumpled, were very clean.
My second conclusion: his behaviour was way too suspicious.
I decided to go with my second conclusion, so I built up on it. Now this gentleman walks in at the start of the service. He recites just about everything we are reciting without reading from the large screens in the church, meaning he is familiar with Anglicanism. He had a polythene bag with what seemed to be all his earthly possessions in it, which he placed a few feet away from him, and slept all through the service. I decide there has to be something else in this bag aside the towel and clothing I saw at the top. I am now looking around the church, focusing more on the courtyard. What am I looking for? His handler.
Yes, I had finally concluded he was a suicide bomber. Can you blame me? With all this talk about Ghanaians being recruited into a terrorist cell, can I be blamed for going there with my imagination? So now I'm adding things up. The device must be buried somewhere in the polythene bag, he wasn't too interested in the service hence he sleeping through it all (probably taking his last nap), but what didn't quite add up was the fact that he seemed to know too much about Anglicanism (did I care, no, besides he might have taken time to study us and our ways so he could fit in). Did I already add that he had a New Testament Bible with him? Well, he did.
And then, I finally, finally concluded (I did have a final final one). He's just a bomber, not a suicide bomber.
I got up when it was time for communion, gentleman was still asleep. I went to the front of the church to receive communion, got back to my pew and gentleman had disappeared. His polythene bag was still where he'd left it, so was his Bible. I could feel hysteria building up inside of me. My mom was seated at the very front of the church. I had to get her out of there. My niece and nephew were in the next building in Sunday school. Since I wasn't sure what the blast radius was, I had to get them out of there too. My friend was seated next to me. My grandma's friend was seated behind my mom. No, I had to get up to the front of the church and just tell everyone. What about my car? Again, blast radius. No, I couldn't be thinking about earthly possessions at this point in time. Human life trumps all earthly possessions. And then I remembered I hadn't prayed. I'd received communion and was too busy getting myself scared to pray. So, I decide. I'm praying, if gentleman is not back after, I'm heading to the front of the church to try to get everyone out before the bomb goes off, and hopefully there wouldn't be a stampede.
I'm done praying and gentleman is back. Turns out, he went to receive communion too (he must have woke up right after I got up). I breathe a sigh of relief (why didn't I even look to the front of the church where I'd have spotted him instead of getting myself to this point), but I'm back to conclusion 2. He could still be a suicide bomber. That conclusion went out the door when the priest asked if there were any first timers worshiping with us, and gentleman stands up, introduces himself, says he's an Anglican who used to worship at a different church and had just been released from prison the previous day. He'd come to his family in the area and had decided to worship with us yesterday.
Ex-con definitely beats suicide bomber. I felt so bad that, after service, I say goodbye to him and tell him I hope to see him next week in church. He must have been sleeping so much because he hasn't had a good night's sleep in ages.
He is after all a freshly free man.
THOU SHALL NOT JUDGE!
(how I know about handlers and blast radii or radiuses, well, we can only blame Jack Bauer and 24).
I still have questions for him though, like, why was he imprisoned? How long had he been in prison? Why does he walk around with a polythene bag with what seems to be all his possessions in it if he has a family around?
But bottom line, THOU SHALL NOT JUDGE! and THOU SHALL NOT JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS!