laughter = best medicine

by Sandra

Answered prayer comes in a variety of forms. Often, I utter difficult prayers with a hard swallow—how exactly is God going to go about answering this prayer? How is it going to happen? What unpleasantness is going to come down the pipe? I typically equate spiritual and emotional growth with negative reinforcement. My thought process is thus: if I have to grow, then it will probably be hard and even though I will have a difficult time for a season, I will come through the other side a better person, and therefore I should give God thanks through the trial.

Because that’s typically what I think, I tend to put off praying those kinds of “Jesus take the wheel” prayers until I just can’t stand it anymore. Like today, for instance, when I finally started digging around my “men issues,” telling God that I want to get over my fear of men, and that I feel like it’s impossible to walk by a total (male) stranger and not feel some combination of fear, resentment, or abject hatred (for him or for me), and that because of this feeling, I think it’s going to be impossible to find a husband, because hello, husbands are generally male. I know a lot of these feelings come from very deep-seated fears, and because of that it’s going to take a lot of work to get past them, and I know that God is the only one who can do that kind of work in me and that in no way is it going to have anything to do with sheer will power.

I prayed those prayers with a hint of apprehension, but am happy to report that it’s been fun to see God at work. He put a lot of men in my way today that I feel would not have otherwise been a presence, and I have to admit it’s been extremely amusing. Which, if anything, flies in the face of how I feel God chooses to teach lessons—constantly unpleasant.

For instance, today I was at Trader Joe’s, and as I trundled up to the checkout lines with my full basket, I settled into the lane of a female cashier, who was finishing up with an elderly customer. I stood patiently when I heard a male cashier behind me ask, “are you ready to checkout? I can take you down here.” I turned as he grabbed my basket and walked to his station, several rows down, to the express lane, despite the fact that my purchase well exceeded the 15-item limit. Okay …. Not only did mr. cashier bag my groceries, he struck up a conversation with me, too, which typically doesn’t happen. Even though it was pleasant, since I had conveniently forgotten my earlier prayer, I really didn’t think anything of it.

Neither did it dawn on me later, as I sat sipping my cappuccino at Akasha, doing homework. There, a whole myriad of men decided to come and say hello or otherwise acknowledge my existence—again, a very rare occurrence. First of course was barista Rob, who is always friendly and talkative and generous with the coffee. Usually he’s the only guy I talk to there, but today was a bit different. Next, a trio of men who discussed screenplays on the patio kept coming back and forth through the door I was sitting next to, and when they came through the door a final time, their ringleader said to me, “your script isn’t done yet?”, to which I replied, “well no but I’m working on it.” He joked about the fact that a script should only take about an hour to write, etc., etc. and they walked off, laughing. Weird. I’ve seen those guys in Akasha before, but today was the first day they bothered striking up a conversation. The same thing went for two other staff members at the restaurant, who again, are usually aloof and standoffish.

I can’t remember exactly when it dawned on me what was going on. It was probably while Corey and I scarffed down dinner at the California Chicken Café, as I noticed the flit of many a male eye in my direction. I’m fairly certain that I did not suddenly become more attractive overnight, and chortled to myself when I realized that the glut of male attention could only be due to my prayers this morning.

Oh God is so funny sometimes, and I love the way he’s working me through this issue—very gently, and, I might add, in a very fun way. I guess not every lesson has to be a dour, straight-faced affair. How refreshing.