I’ve had a hard time deciding on a throwback topic. I have lots of things that I want to tell about. My dilemma has been that I am a visual learner and have visual preference for telling my stories. I haven’t found all my childhood pictures and need some others from my parents. It has been a chaotic couple of weeks. Snow always seems to do that.
With the snow days and being trapped, I had to spend some time in prayer to keep my wits about me. And even then, it doesn’t always work. It reminded me of my first earnest prayer.
I was five or six years old. I had been attending a local church since I was about 3 1/2, so I was well versed in who God was to me. My first prayer was a selfish prayer, but one that has stayed with me for my entire life because it was answered.
My dad worked from home so he was the one to watch me and my brother while my mom was away at work. I don’t know whether it was his stern voice or his confidence in the way he spoke, but when my dad said something, you listened. My mom always says that he “got his bluff in early”, meaning that we had a healthy fear of him and yet could count on our fingers the actual amount of times that we were actually disciplined by him. Maybe I was just a well behaved child….
We lived in a trailer by this time. There was a long hallway from the back bedroom of the trailer that ran all the way through the open living, dining, and kitchen combo. It was perfect straightaway to put on some roller skates and fly from one end to the other at a glorious speed. The only problem was that I had been told not to roller skate in the house. I don’t know if I had ever done it before or what conversation had transpired for me to know this, but these were the facts.
But the straightaway was just too perfect. And so I put on the standard 1980’s white skates, laced them up, and was on my way. I was speeding along at full force when my brother’s bottle appeared before me. It was glass. I was going too fast. There would be no way to stop. And so over it I went. POP!! The bottle exploded, milk and all.
I was scared that I would be in trouble (as I move along in my blogging, you’ll learn that I’m a people pleaser and a perfectionist – these tendencies tend to overplay the ramifications of a given situation). I knew that I had not followed the rules and look what happened. I was sure that my dad would be mad. And so I said a prayer. I prayed to God that I wouldn’t get in trouble, that it was an accident and I didn’t mean to break the bottle and I shouldn’t have been skating (maybe this is why I am a rule follower, to a degree that, sometimes, even annoys me).
I’m not sure if my dad heard the noise. He was outside. I suspect it probably made a loud bang. I just know that there was little time that passed between when I broke the bottle, my prayer, and my dad walking inside. He opened the door and asked what happened. Through my sobs I told him that I had been skating in the house and had run over the bottle. He asked me if I was hurt and said next time to be more careful.
Next time? Be more careful? Nothing about how I was doing something I shouldn’t. I was in shock. And in that moment, I knew, without a doubt, that God had answered my prayer. It would be the foundation that I would need to keep my faith in the the future when life would be begin to, and still does, throw me curve balls. It would keep me strong in the belief that God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
Maybe I should have been in trouble for not obeying the said expectations, but the greater good occurred in that moment of compassion and leniency. Experiences can shape who we become and we have a choice to grow or shrink from them. Kindness trumps most other responses. Show some kindness to somebody today.
Let your light shine!