Since I was in that room and in the back room so often, where you could hear but not see people, and this area was such a hub of activity, I developed an uncanny sense of being able to identify other team members by the cadence of their stride, the way they sneezed, cleared their throat, sat in the chair, rattled their keys or even just breathed.
For me, it was comforting to be able to know who was there without being able to see them. I could do my job more easily when I knew who was there around me. I have never liked to sit with my back to a door or be positioned where I can't see the whole room. I always like to be aware of who is with me...who is sharing my space.
The church that I attend with my family is in the middle of a city. It is land-locked and there is no parking. I love it.
And I know who is there without even looking. I know the coughs, sneezes, cries of the babies and the voices in the choir.
And I know the voice of the pastor and the deacons and the other servers in the church who lift us up as one family in prayer.
And I am comforted. I can sit with my back to the door. I can sit front and center and not worry about having to be able to see the whole room.
I know that my children are safe and that I am safe.
There is Jo (in the blue dress), singing, not crying. Safe in the arms of the church body that loves her just the way she is.
And there is one of our youth, trying out his talent on the guitar, knowing that he is safe to worship in his own way, even if he might make mistakes...
And here you can see Elizabeth (behind the flowers) and her friends next to her singing in the adult choir because they are wanted and welcomed there to mix their youthful voices with the more experienced.
And when the pastor's voice rings out over us, and when I hear God's voice through his, I recognize the voice even if I can't always see Him, and I am comforted by it.
I am drawn every week to the comfort of the shepherd that God has placed in our church to lead us, and I draw comfort from the Shepherd who is always with me. This comfort allows me to do my job better. I can witness better and walk the walk better when I know who is there with me, who's got my back and who's by my side both here on earth and in heaven...when I can close my eyes and hear their voices.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.