Answered Prayers.....

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There is a saying:  God always answers our prayers, He just doesn't always say Yes.

Several years ago, my husband and I spent a lovely and busy two weeks in April, in the state of Texas.  We toured Galveston and fell head over heels for the gracious beauty of that city's old homes.   We spent several days on South Padre Island, staying in a beachfront hotel with a balcony overlooking the ocean and walking on the beach to collect shells and sand dollars in a plastic bucket.  Texas is a beautiful, warm and friendly state and we had a great time.  On the final Friday of our vacation, we drove into Houston and spent the day in that huge, imposing metropolitan area.  We drove the busy freeways, went down to see the battleship Missouri and spent an hour shopping in a large Teddy Bear shop where I bought some wonderful new bears to add to my collection.  All in all, it was a marvelous day and a fitting ending to the time we had spent in Texas.  However, we lingered longer than we had expected and after getting a bite of dinner, we realized just how very tired we were.  It was beginning to rain, was getting dark and late, so we decided to drive no further north until getting a night's sleep.  We reasoned that it would still give us two whole days, Saturday and Sunday, to drive the rest of the way home so we could afford to take our time. 

So we chose a chain motel and took an available second floor room.  Since we were both terribly tired, we just carried in a minimum of our luggage, one bag each that held night clothes and what remained of our clean clothes, plus the video camera bag and the shopping bag of teddy bears we had purchased that afternoon.  We had a huge, locked molded plastic trunk in the back of the Suburban that would protect our cameras, camping gear and other clothes and souvenirs from prying eyes and figured that the well lighted parking lot would discourage anyone from breaking in, anyway.

Next morning I awoke at about 5:30 when the morning light seeped into the room around the curtains and I peeked out of the window to see how much rain we had gotten.   The parking lot was wet but it was no longer raining, although there were rain drops on the roof of the Suburban and the other cars in the lot and the sky was very gray with low clouds scudding around.   John was still sleeping so I propped pillows behind me and sat on the other bed in the room.  I hugged one of my new bears in my arms and idly pondered all the fun and great times we had experienced on this trip.  I thought of our drive home and I asked God to please grant us a safe trip.   In a few minutes, John woke and suggested that we go ahead and get on the road so I went into the bathroom to wash up.   Suddenly I heard John moving very rapidly in the other room, heard his voice exclaiming "What the hell..." and heard him opening the door of our room.  I stuck my head around the corner to see what was going on.  John looked very agitated and his eyes were wide.  "Someone stole our car!"  He immediately went to the telephone but it would not work.  He then ran out of the room, yelling back to me that he was going down to the office to call the police.

The next couple of hours were a blur of confusion.  I asked John what had happened, since I had just looked out less than half an hour before and had noticed nothing.  He said he was getting our things together in one place by the door so we could carry them out to the car when he heard what sounded like breaking glass.  He looked out the window and saw our Suburban being driven away.  It had taken only less than one minute. 

We waited a very long time --- nearly two hours --- for a police officer to finally answer our report.  The officer asked us to show him the car.  The call had been taken that our "license plate" had been stolen--not our car.  This was the main reason that the call hadn't been given priority.  It transpired that John had rushed into the office, telling the person on duty what had happened and that the desk clerk had placed the call to the police.   Whether they had simply misunderstood or whether something else, entirely, was going on, we will never know.  There was never a satisfactory explanation as to why our phone was not working in our room.   The policeman said that the theft also coincided with the morning shift change at the police department and that made it even longer before our call was answered.  He took the report but gave us absolutely no hope that we would ever recover our car or any of it's contents.  He inferred that one of two things were most likely to have happened.  Either the stolen car would be driven immediately to the border and into Mexico (we had just filled the gas tanks after supper, the night before, so they wouldn't even have to stop for gas!) or it would be stripped in an out of the way "chop-shop" and the body would end up submerged in a bayou.

It became apparent that we would have to fly home.  I called the airport for  reservations, telephoned our daughter and son-in-law to tell them what had happened and the arrival time of our plane so that they could come pick us up.  I also called and left a message on the answering machine of our insurance agent.  We called a cab to the Houston airport and made the flight home to Kansas City without incident, although through some very cloudy skies and some rather rocky wind turbulence, which seemed to go well with my mood.   It was wonderful to step off the plane and see Debbie and Brian and the grandkids waiting with concerned caring faces and hugs all around.

The next morning---Sunday---I went to Mass at 9:30, my regular time, even though I wasn't feeling all that holy.  I just felt pretty shell-shocked and it gave me such a creepy feeling to know that someone had probably pawed through our possessions and personal items looking for anything of value.  I was having some trouble concentrating on the Mass, as it began.  I was feeling let-down by having our great vacation end so badly.  I felt that God hadn't really been paying attention to my prayers.  The reading of the gospel, played into my feelings of "betrayal" in that it was about how God always hears our prayers....Yeah, I thought....he sure didn't answer mine!  And then the words of the reading went on....."God always answers our prayers.  He doesn't always answer them in the way we would wish."  OH MY!  That was speaking to me.  TO ME!  Goose bumps covered my arms and the hair at the nape of my neck seemed to stand at attention at those words. I had asked God to give us a safe trip home.   We were home safe.  We no longer had a car and some of our possessions were probably in a swamp but WE WERE SAFE.  This thought was followed immediately by other possible scenarios.  What if the trip home in the car had meant that we would have an accident or some other mishap?  I choose to believe that God DID answer my prayer.  That to protect us from some circumstance that we will never know, God did watch over us and bring us safely home.

That really isn't quite the end of the story, either.  On that particular weekend there were extremely dangerous weather conditions in many parts of the Midwest, including tornadoes and violent thunderstorms that did major damage and caused some deaths in parts of the country from Texas through Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.  John and I had not really nailed down the exact route we were planning to drive home.  Since we would have had two whole days to drive the remaining distance, is it possible that we might have chosen a route that would take us to an area that was right in the path of some of these storms and tornadoes?






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