This I Believe
That the prayers of children always reach God’s ears. In October 1961 my mom left my dad….. She never said goodbye to us…. Actually, she never said anything. I went to school one morning and when I came home, she was gone. I was told she went to Arizona. I didn’t know where Arizona was, but the word took on a mystical subtext like saying she was in heaven. I received two letters from her over the next six months. She told me about working as a nanny and cook for a wealthy family in Phoenix. I was so angry and so sad to think mom had found a replacement for us in such a short time. Of course that wasn’t true, but I was eight and only thought in black and white.
And then, in early spring, just as abruptly as she left, she came for a visit. So magical to have her home, I didn’t ask when she was going back; didn’t want to know. But when the time came, it was too soon and too much for my wounded heart to take. I don’t remember saying good bye to her when she left for the airport after supper that night but I do remember what happened next. I went to my room and my bed and prayed like never before. Since Mom left God and I had become good friends. I’d spent hours alone in the dark talking to him, but that night was different. I needed something. I needed Mom to stay just one more day. I wasn’t ready for her to go again, couldn’t face the thought of coming home to an empty house after school the next day. I just wasn’t ready. So I prayed and cried and repeated my plea over and over, please just not tonight, please God, just one more day. I hopped out of bed and prayed on my knees like I’d seen my Catholic girlfriends do. I wanted to make double sure my prayer got through. I fell asleep mumbling words of supplication with puffy swollen eyes and awoke to the sound of Mom’s voice. I sat up in bed, afraid to believe what I was hearing then bounded downstairs. She said she was getting ready to board the plane when fog rolled in, out of nowhere, canceling the flight. But I knew it didn’t come from nowhere. It came from the heart of God and the answered prayer of an eight year old girl. And in that small brief moment I gained an unshakable faith in things unseen that has never left me. This I believe.
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