Be careful what you pray for...you might just get it!

I’m not the kind to pray for a specific outcome. I figure, who am I to dare tell God what to do?Instead, I pray for the gifts of the spirit: wisdom, understanding, courage, right judgment, knowledge, reverence and awe.

But on this particular day long ago, when my daughter Sara and I were visiting colleges, I broke the mold: I prayed for a parking space when we arrived at the university.

With 40,000 students and 10,000 parking spaces, I figured I needed a little divine intervention. Sure enough, we circled the congested parking lots only to find them crammed, until finally, among the last crowded rows, there was one narrow parking spot available.

“Take it!” Sara shouted.

I paused, surveying the space.

“I can’t fit my van in there,” I said.

“Yes, you can,” she said. “Just try!”

The lot, designed for petite Volkswagen beetles, was overcrowded. An enormous sport utility vehicle filled the space to my left. A shiny long green metallic pickup truck occupied the spot to my right. The thought of squeezing my mini-van into the narrow sleeve between the two didn’t equate.

But Sara urged me, and I didn’t want to park miles away and hike in high heels, so I decided to have a crack at it.

I swung wide and aimed for center space. Halfway in, my left headlight nearly shaved the SUV beside us.  On my right, you could floss between the rear corner of the green pickup truck and the side of my grey minivan.

My heart was pounding. My palms were wet with sweat. I sucked in my gut, as if it could help.

Then a young man arrived. He threw his hands over his face as he watched the short erratic movements of my van, wedged between the SUV and the pickup.

I rolled my window down. “Is this your pickup?” I shouted.

He nodded and proceeded to guide me, as I inched to and fro until the van was finally sandwiched between the two vehicles.

Visibly shaken, I backed it up again, and centered it as best I could into the tiny space.

“Thank you for your help,” I told the owner of the green pickup, who was just as relieved as me when I finally exited my vehicle.

“When are you leaving?” I asked him.

“In about an hour,” came the reply.

“I hope your truck is gone by the time I have to leave,” I said. I think he felt the same.

As Sara and I walked away, I looked at her. “Next time I’m going to pray for a parking spot that’s easy to get into,” I said, with a chuckle.

When our meeting ended, the truck was gone and the space remained empty, making an uncomplicated exit. It was another answer to prayer.

Honestly, though, next time I’ll leave the circumstances to God.

Instead, I’ll keep praying for courage, strength, wisdom and peace. After all, that’s all I really needed to deal with the skinny parking space.




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