Grumpy Travelling for Spring Break
Ed, my neighbor next door, invited himself along on my recent trip to Saskatoon. Hearing that my wife wasn’t able to come with me, Ed insisted on accompanying me. At Saskatoon I was picking up my granddaughter for a visit during Spring Break. When Ed travels with me for a round-trip of eight hours, I sure get lots of practice at what I call silent, “Please Lord” prayers.
Prayer one started building as we left Melville heading north on Highway 47. It was seven a.m. and Ed relentlessly shared his negative thoughts such as: It was too early. I should have taken the van – it would have been more comfortable. He didn’t have enough leg room. He only had one coffee and a little bit of breakfast. I rushed him. Ruby was smiling at him and she never smiles in the morning. He would have rather left at ten. I was driving too slowly. Then, after a tiny skid, I was driving way too fast on the snow covered sections.
I prayed silently: Please Lord, Ed needs a nap–put him to sleep.
I wish I could tell you Ed fell asleep and napped in his seat until Springside, but he was still grumbling at Foam Lake. I couldn’t wait any longer for God to cause Ed to nod off. I stopped at a highway restaurant feeling sure a second breakfast would sweeten Ed up.
Hot coffee and cold beer, are absolutes to Ed. There is no compromise! Ed’s coffee was not hot, but barely lukewarm. He was afraid to send it back, as the waitress made it plain she wasn’t in any mood to serve us. The cook slung our breakfast plates on our table and said, “There are no free refills on coffee and we are out of ketchup.” Then, the six-foot-ten giant yelled at the waitress, “I’m going for a smoke.” Ed wasn’t complaining to him either.
Feeding Ed backfired badly. After his lukewarm coffee, cold eggs and day old toast, he was more negative than ever. This led me to formulate in my mind prayer two. Please, Lord, help me to enjoy Ed’s every complaint.
Ed’s complaints kept coming and I wish I could say I enjoyed them, but I didn’t. So, in desperation, I decided my prayers must be wrong and I needed to get my third prayer in a better spirit.
Please, Lord, help me to be thankful for Ed’s company. We are both negative and complaining–him to me and me to you. Help us to travel safely and be good company to each other.
It took a while, but we did travel safely and enjoy each other’s company on the way home.
The Bible speaks of having the wrong motives when we ask for things from God. Our prayers do get focused on what would give us pleasure or what we want. Too many times I have prayed that God would change someone else so they would stop getting on my nerves. God isn’t necessarily in the business of making other folks easy for me or you to like. Prayer is not just what I want, but why I want it. God knows our motives when we pray but we might not see them as selfish.