The Unlocked Door

I have a life long friend named Sheryl. When she was fourteen, she lived in a small town in Oregon with her parents, younger sister, and two brothers. They lived in a small home in the country that sat right next to a busy state highway.

One warm summer day Sheryl was walking up the highway to visit a friend. She noticed a car coming and stepped to the side of the road. Two men in their early thirties pulled up beside her to ask if they were on the right road to get to the Oregon coast.

Sheryl was a bit nervous but in those days it was not uncommon for people to stop and ask for directions. When she told them they were on the right road, they asked if she would like to go to the beach with them. She stepped away from the car as a silent alarm went off in her head. The man in the passenger seat opened his door to get out of the car.

She noticed she was across the street from the Johnson house where she babysat from time to time. She pointed to the house and said to the men in the car, “I live right there and I think you better leave me alone.” The two men didn’t seem to believe her.

She looked both ways and darted across the street as the men watched. She walked confidently up to the front door, praying to God that the door would be unlocked – in spite of the fact that the family who lived there always stressed the importance of keeping “the front door that faced the highway” locked because of its proximity to the street. They reminded her to keep the front door locked every time she babysat for them.

Sheryl knew the men were watching and feared they would come after her if the door was locked. She continued her self-assured stride as she prayed and walked up to the door as if she lived there. She turned the knob. The door was unlocked. She opened it, stepped into the house, and closed the door behind her. Safely inside, with her back pressed to the door, Sheryl began to cry.

Having heard the front door open and close, Mrs. Johnson turned and ran back down the hall. She was surprised to see her babysitter in the house. With tears streaming down her face, Sheryl explained what had happened and why she had come into the house without knocking.

As they stepped to the window and watched two men in a car disappear from sight, Mrs. Johnson told Sheryl the strangest thing. Just ten seconds before Sheryl entered the house, Mrs. Johnson had locked the front door – just to be sure. She was still walking down the hallway when Sheryl let herself in.


Post a Comment