Just the Janitor
"Do Anything" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
OWN THIS PRINT
He's been the janitor of this church for over thirty years.
He's watched seven pastors come and go, as well as many people and families. He was baptized as a baby and grew up here. Although not the oldest, he's the church's most permanent fixture.
He's seen everything. He's heard everything.
The condoms in the men's room. Pregnancy tests in the women's. Spouses kissing spouses other than their own behind the church and in their cars. Fights in the hallway and slaps in the kitchen. Drugs exchanged for money by the dumpster and mini liquor bottles in the trash. Money sliding into pockets between the sanctuary and the office. Cruel things said one to another. The pastor crying at his desk.
He's also seen the babies baptized and growing into men and women and getting married here. Food being given to the poor from the street. Money raised for refugees and homes opened for them too. Addicts with these folk nursing their addictions and withdrawals and defeats and victories. Sick people and their families cared for with prayer and fellowship and food and support. People dying accidentally and sickly and violently and by their own hand. And so many buried. He laughs and cries unseen along with everyone else.
He knows everyone by name but he isn't sure many know his. No one notices what he does but they would if he didn't constantly clean up after them and perpetually restore everything to its original beauty. The oaken pews and pulpit and communion table. The organ pipes and red velvet drapes and runners and piano keys and black lacquer surface. The brass rails and communion plates and chalices. The stained glass windows and clear ones too. Even the sinks and toilets and stove tops and floors. And the infinite trash. No one notices and if they do they never say anything.
It amuses him that as soon as he picks up a broom he disappears. He hears and witnesses things like he's not even there. Invisible. Cloaked in disregard.
Early one morning he read a story about Buddhist monks cleaning their bowls. He reflected on its meaning for a while then went to work.
Last week, after he'd cleaned the pastor's study and noticed the porn on his computer screen, the pastor came in and they made eye contact. Did he now know that he now knows? But he always knew. ‚ÄúEverything good?‚Äù ‚ÄúYes, Reverend, everything's good!‚Äù and he went on his way to continue his undying task of covering this place with his care.
Because he didn't take this job for the glory.