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It’s Sunday. Sundays are always busy days for me. Sundays are always early days for me. Today promised to be no exception.

With a full slate of activities planned, I got up early and drove to church. There was not much traffic at 6:00 A.M. I had the roads to myself. The orange of dawn had yet to break the nighttime spell on the summer’s black sky. The twilight sparkled. Cool air wafted.

I parked outside my church office and took a minute to enjoy the quietude. I set down my books, picked up my coffee, and leaned against the car.

It was calm. But calm has a way of becoming chaos.

With a briefcase in one hand and a coffee cup in the other, I walked and whistled across the parking lot to the office door. To enter my office, I had to get past the sleeping dog of the twentieth century: the alarm system. I set down my briefcase and unlocked the door. I picked up my briefcase and walked in.

The code box on the wail was flashing a red light.

The siren pounced on me like a mountain lion. I thought we were under nuclear attack. Floodlights flash flooded the hallway, and red strobes turned. I kept pushing buttons, and the alarm kept blaring. You’d have thought it was a breakout at Alcatraz.

My pulse raced, my forehead moistened, and my situation was desperate. I raced down the hall to my office, pulled open the lap drawer of my desk, and found the phone number of the alarm company.

The next twenty minutes were loud, demanding, confusing, and aggravating. I was speaking to technicians I couldn’t see about equipment I didn’t understand trying to understand words I couldn’t hear.

Ever happened to you? When was the last time your life went from calm to chaos in half a minute? ("How many examples would you like?" you ask.) When was the last time you found yourself pushing buttons that didn’t respond, struggling with instructions you couldn’t hear, or operating a system you didn’t understand?

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