The Phone Fiasco
Many of you have asked about the details surrounding the theft of my phone last week, so I thought I’d give a quick rundown of the events … at least as I see it.
Last Tuesday night we led worship for the season finale of CharlotteONE in uptown at First United Methodist Church. It’s an amazing cathedral building with gothic-style architecture right in the heart of uptown Charlotte. They pack it full of young professionals and singles every week from all over the city, hungry to worship God … But, apparently the occasional passerby strolls in with other motives. Don’t get me wrong, I want passersby to wander in and hear the Gospel. But on this occasion, the passerby was looking for one thing and one thing only–a phone. I know that because my phone was what went missing.
7:45 PM – The band left the greenroom to head upstairs for our second worship set. We left our belongings as well, which is typical. As we left the room, I vividly remember seeing my little Samsung Rogue (hey, don’t knock it! Just because I had to physically text my pictures to twitpic.com to get them on twitter?! I mean, every phone is that way! I’m positive of that!) on the coffee table in the center of the room.
8:25 PM – We came back down after leading worship to pack up our things, and … yes, the phone was gone. But I didn’t panic. I simply began asking if anyone had seen it. We scoured the couch. Poured over the room. And then began asking people all around the building. No one had seen it.
9:00ish PM – By this time, the higher-ups are ready to lock up the building, and I’m still holding out hope that it’s gonna turn up. We called my phone numerous times with friends’ cell phones. No luck. I chalked it up to misplacement and hoped it would turn up. On our way out, some of the staff reassured me that nothing has ever been stolen during CharlotteONE. That was reassuring … for awhile. Tasha and I said goodbye to everyone, headed to dinner with some good friends, and then made our way to my buddy Spruill’s house for some rest.
8:00 AM Wednesday – I awoke to the sound of a beeping (no, that was not a profanity … maybe) text message on Tasha’s phone. I picked it up and the text was from none other than …. me. My phone that is. The text read, “Do you know who’s phone this is? I’m trying to track down the owner.”
I was immediately excited and hopeful. I explained the situation and crossed my fingers hoping for the best. The events that progressed after that, however, were nothing more than a simple game of cat and mouse. The real problem being, I didn’t realize that I was the mouse. I assumed I was another cat about to get my nip on. It didn’t quite work that way. This mystery person was in full control of the situation, and he knew it. He only texted periodically–on his terms it seemed. And he would never answer the phone when I would try to call. He lured me along like a 13-year old boy entices a baby with a lollipop with no intention of ever giving it to him. He said we would meet. He said he was coming to Raleigh. He said we could meet at his hotel by the airport. He said. He said. He said. After a day or so of this, I started to become unnerved when I would see a text come through Tasha’s phone from me. It was just weird. The whole thing felt wrong. And besides that, his short, pithiness and arrogant tone was getting annoying and I knew I was being toyed with. Eventually, 48 hours had passed and I knew it was a lost cause. He was still buying time though, promising something that he wasn’t intending to give up.
10 PM Thursday – After talking with a few friends about the circumstance, Tasha and I agreed that we simply had to disconnect the phone. We resolved ourselves to the fact that it wasn’t coming back. So, we suspended it. But not after getting in the last word. I texted one last time and told him I was on to him. Then, we cut it. We, of course, got on the phone with our wireless provider and explained the situation, and they assured us we wouldn’t be responsible for the 190+ phone calls this guy made in little over 48 hours. That was reassuring. However, I still had no phone. At least, until Friday.
11 AM Friday – I headed to the local Verizon store in Wake Forest to get another phone. I again explained the situation, and the guy helping me out said, “Dude, that happened to me too. Brutha was calling all my friends pretending to be me and telling them I was gay!” Well, thankfully, that was not my situation. But we at least got a chuckle out of his bad fortune. I thanked the man for his help, made sure my cell number was the same, and headed home.
1 PM – I received my first text from a mystery number. Apparently, my phone thief had no way of informing his buddies that he no longer had that number. So, I decided to have a little fun with it. The tables had turned on our little game.
Dude: “What’s up man, where u at now?”
Dude: “What? Your in jail?”
(here’s the clincher) Me: “NO, just kiddin’ man! But I am in a prison of my own design. I gotta quit livin this way!” [cheesy? definitely! fun? completely!]
Dude: “What way? Where are u?” [along with some expletives and strong language.]
I of course, dodged the question, much like my mystery man did with me when I would ask where he was. I finally ended the conversation by saying this:
Me: “I’m realizing I need Jesus. You and me both. Not even playing. Gotta go. But just think about it. We need to get our lives straight.”
Ha! Talk about dropping a bomb on somebody! I went straight for the jugular and loved every second of it!
Present Day – It’s been over a week now since the phone was stolen, and literally I’m still receiving daily texts and calls from mystery friends of the phone thief. And yes, I’m using every chance I get to tell them that the phone thief has found Jesus.
Am I lying? Well, probably. But I can be hopeful–hopeful that the next time the phone thief wanders into CharlotteONE it will be because the Spirit of God is drawing him there and he will respond to life-changing message of the Gospel.
Hey friends, bottom line: Use whatever circumstances you’ve been handed to be a mouthpiece for the Gospel. And you might just have some fun with it at the same time. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.