By Tyler McKenzie and Adrienne Feldmann
TYLER (11:55 p.m. Saturday): Here I was, a grown man, a pastor nonetheless, about to commit a felony. I coasted quietly down the neighborhood street, lights off, car in neutral, toilet paper in hand. It was essential I not get caught.
ADRIENNE: I have always gone through seasons of depression. A few months ago it was especially frightening. I called in all kinds of reinforcements just to survive my day-to-day. I constantly fought off suicidal thoughts. Reaching out was difficult, but it was my last hope. I needed my friends. They were reluctant to help in the past, but medication, counseling, exercise, and prayer weren’t helping this time.
TYLER (midnight Saturday): I parked about 100 yards away and slowly creaked open the car door. It was chilly out, no moon. Just clouds and the dim yellow glow of streetlamps. I could smell rain. Goosebumps spiked on my arms, the kind I hadn’t felt since grade-school hide-and-seek. I crept closer. A light turned on behind the front door. I froze. They saw me! How? I whispered, “Help me, Jesus!” Then I waited. I could see shadows. Why are they still awake? Should I turn back? Not now. I’ve come too far!This was God’s will, my newest ministry, “the toilet paper ministry.”
ADRIENNE (earlier that night, 10:30 p.m.): My husband, Chris, and I were in a group text with Tyler and his wife, Lindsay, who were walking through this season with us. I felt terrible asking for help from such busy people who had better things to do. I apologized repeatedly. After a few dozen “I’m sorry for being so needy” texts, Tyler got annoyed and responded, “If you don’t stop apologizing, I promise I will roll your house.” I had no idea what that meant, so I apologized some more.
TYLER, (12:02 a.m. Sunday): I didn’t have “better things to do.” At least not this time. To be honest, we were “C-” friends to Adrienne and Chris during similar seasons when they needed help. But we resolved to be “A+” friends this time. I smirked when I read her texts. No one tells me, “You won’t!” No one tells me, “You can’t!” And we had tried just about everything else. Maybe a good laugh is what was needed.
I stood on Adrienne’s front lawn. There was no turning back. I began to do my worst to her mailbox. I circled the box with round after round of toilet paper and then worked my way down the post for what seemed like 30 minutes. How much toilet paper is in one roll? I wondered. I wasn’t leaving until it was gone. And then I felt it—drip—first on my forehead—drip—and then on my hand. It was starting to rain.
ADRIENNE (7:00 a.m. Sunday): I was still in bed whenChris called to me, “There’s some mail for you.” I knew there was no mail on Sundays. I rolled my eyes, groaned, and made my way toward the door. Upon opening it, I immediately noticed the rain . . . and then I saw the mailbox. It was wrapped top to bottom with soggy toilet paper. It was disgusting. But after days of death knocking on my door, I managed a smile. Then I laughed. To be honest, up to that moment, I wasn’t sure I would ever laugh again. Now I knew what “roll your house” meant.
TYLER: Toilet paper theology. It should be a class in every seminary! That one roll taught me as much as any lecture I’ve heard or book I’ve read.
Tyler McKenzie serves as lead pastor at Northeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Adrienne Feldmann serves as online campus pastor at Northeast.