Wednesday, April 15, 2015

An Addendum to our Texas Vacation


On our flight home from San Antonio, Lamp and I sat next to a nice, semi-chatty lady.  I mean she was the right amount of chatty--she gets to know you a little, asks a few questions, and just when you worry you might be subjected to a 2 hour in depth, life story type of conversation she falls asleep for the majority of the flight letting enjoy the last leg of your trip. Additionally, I appreciated that she started chatting with Lamp like it a'int no thang because a lot of people do the overcompensation routine.  Which I honestly understand.  But when people don't miss a beat and just talk to her like they would any other 4 year old it's always refreshing. Anyway, before the flight even takes off our row mate discovered that she had lost a bracelet. I would not say she was freaking out, but I would say she was distraught. She got a flight attendant to call TSA to check the counter for any lost and founds. No luck. As I said, that was before take off. As we're getting ready for our final descent, our row mate starts rummaging around in her stuff and she asks me, "Did you notice me wearing a fanny pack?"
"No.  I didn't." I say. 
"I swear it was right around my waist," as she motions with her hands showing where the fanny pack should be.  "These pants are just so tight I thought I had it on."  It's true.  She was wearing some black workout type leggings and I could see how those cinched around your waist could mimic the snug, secure feeling of wearing a fanny pack.  

She continues to look through her stuff.  Under her chair, even standing up checking and rechecking her waist. She asks me again, "I'm sorry...I know I already asked you but did you see me wearing a fanny pack?  It was around my waist..." And she continues to do the motioning around her waist movement.  I'm a little startled by what is now starting to verge on crazy, but equally startled by how much I relate to her.  

I hate loosing things. I go nuts when I've lost something it and was just RIGHT THERE.  So honestly, I am really feeling for her at this point. Unlike the bracelet incident earlier, she's definitely operating at a code red, level 5 emergency. I mean she's not yelling or anything, she's calm but you can see and feel the tension in her body. As it turns out her wallet containing her credit cards, drivers license and what sounded like a good amount of cash were in her fanny pack so of course this is a rather big deal. Even in terms of first world problems, this sucks and is something we can all empathize with.

Lamp, trying to grasp why this is such a big deal asks her whats in her wallet.  As the woman rattles off the laundry list, Lamp hears drivers license and says, "So now you won't even be able to drive your car without it? How are you going to get home?"  
"I hadn't even thought of that... but yeah, you're right."  Lamp smiles proudly, happy she could think of something a grown up hadn't thought of. We look all around, we check under seats (again) and we help as much as we can.  It just wasn't there and she finally concedes that she must have left it at TSA.

A thought keeps coming to my mind, but I push it aside a few times.  Finally, I just say it.  "Lamp, maybe we could say a prayer to help her find her fanny pack.  You don't have to say it out loud, but you could just say it in your heart."  
"I'm just going to say it in my brain mom."  
"OK. That sounds good."
  
I said this out loud. As you often feel helpless in these situations I wanted her to know my heart went out to her and that we were doing every little thing we could do to help.  So we both bow our heads and say silent prayers for our row mate to find her wallet.  I probably wouldn't have suggested this if she hadn't already shared her love of Joel Osteen and asked me a handful of questions about Mormons which she had guessed was our faith when I told her we had family in Utah.  And even with her openness regarding her Christianity I still had reservations about praying for her, but she was visibly moved which made it feel like the right choice.

I just want to stop the story for a second and say a thing or two about prayer.  Some people like to pose the question, 'does prayer work?' And what they mean is when you pray for something do you get what you're praying for? And the answer of course is sometimes yes, sometimes no. I would be lying if I said I didn't pray to ask for things I want. I do. I pray to God and ask for tangible and intangible things all the time. And sometimes I have gotten those things. Sometimes miraculous things. But sometimes of course I have not gotten the things I have asked for. But prayer is much more than simply a plea to God to get what we want. To be honest I'm still working on figuring this out in a way that satisfies my brain, because it feels rather complicated but suffice it to say that prayer has a lot to do with aligning our will with Gods will and being OK--or just ok--with the outcome. But still what sometimes feels frustrating is that something that used to feel so easy and simple as a kid, feels so much more complicated and full of questions as an adult. I say all this so that you understand that while I was certainly hoping our prayer would "work" I don't think of prayer in those black and white terms.  CS Lewis has some really good thoughts about prayer that resonate with me.

OK, back to our gripping tale. As the plane was taxing and as we were leaving, our row mate was on the phone talking to TSA in San Antonio.  For a second it looked like they might have found it, but then her face fell and she said, "Oh. ok." And that was it.  We had to catch our connecting flight so we left.    

Later in the day, a couple hours after arriving home, the phone rang.  

"Is this Mrs. X?"  
"Yes it is."
"Did you have a flight on United earlier today?"  
"Yes I did."
"Well I'm calling from United Airlines and there was a woman I believe you sat next to on your flight today who lost her fanny pack?"
"Yes...."

A slight unease came over me.  See, I have this fear that people think I'm lying to them. This stems from the fact that I've had close relationships in my life with people who lie a lot and because I'm now much more suspicious of other people, I assume other people are suspicious of me.  So a small part of me assumed that this lady silently suspected that I had stolen her fanny pack and thus was forcing the airline to contact me as a suspect.  Perhaps this is an odd thing to worry about, but it's true 

The woman continued, "She wanted us to contact you and tell you that she found her fanny pack. She was so touched by your daughters prayer for her that she really wanted to say thank you. She had tried to find you at the gate but you had already left. She was telling all of us around her about your daughter and the prayer and we were all so touched by her story as well.  She was crying and we were getting teary eyed...So we just wanted to contact you and relay the message."  

And then I was crying.  (By the way if my eyes water, that's crying in my book). We talked for a minute more then I got off the phone and told Lamp the whole story.  She was beaming from ear to ear.  She was so excited to tell everyone she knew about how she said a prayer for a lady to find her fanny pack and she found it AND the airplane people even called to tell us!  She even used it to bear her very first testimony in church on Sunday.  (Mormon stuff...I have links if you care to know what I'm talking about, but in short we have a fast and testimony meeting once a month in the Mormon church where it's basically an open mic Sunday to share our feelies about all things Mormon. As you might suspect the nature of these meetings can range from sacred and spiritual to crazy and uncomfortable).

My initial feelings were that this experience was divinely crafted for the benefit of Lamp.  A faith promoting experience in her youth to hold onto and cherish for years to come. A woman found her wallet because of her prayer.  I know it may sound silly to some, but we practice this form of positive reinforcement in other ways all the time. Santa came because you were good this year is not that different from God wanted you to know He heard your prayer. Right now my kids don't need to know the truth about Santa, they just need to know they're good.  They also don't need to understand the complicated reality of prayers--both answered and unanswered--they just need to know their prayers are heard.

And while I do think this experience was for Lamp, I also think it was for me.  It had been a while since I felt a prompting and decided to act on it. Lately Mormonism and faith has felt so complicated, just like prayer itself.  Black and white on the surface, but a crazy pattern of multifaceted greys underneath. I forget that sometimes faith can be really simple and straightforward. I think God wanted to remind me of that.


11 comments:

  1. I love this. Everything about it. Amen, sista!

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  2. Hugs and kisses! This is such a beautiful story. I love that this woman really wanted you to know this and that the airline honored her request. It sounds like that little prayer touch more than just you and lamp.

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    1. Yeah that was the other point I was wanting to make...it felt like God was inviting me to be part of a moment that was for us sure, but also for a few other people as well.

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  3. So very very cool that they bothered to call you!!! Good job to all involved!!!

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    1. Right? The phone call of course makes the whole story...

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  4. Thank you for sharing this great story.

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    1. Thanks for reading it.

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  5. I love all of this. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Popping over from A Blog About Love, where I discovered your blog!

    Just want to say that I loved the little "OK" in your sentence about prayer having to do with aligning our will with God's :)

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  7. Awww! That's the sweetest. I'm shocked they called you, but what a cool follow up. It's nice to know the "ending" to the story.

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