I needed to talk to Jesus. That sounds dramatic. Nothing was particularly heavy on my heart, but regular conversation is the key to maintaining most relationships. It also helps to buffer those times when the subject matter is a little more than serious and moods are tense. By moods, I mean my own.
My roommates were all home, milling around. If I prayed like I normally would, they’d hear me. That would be awkward for everyone. Not that my prayer life is particularly juicy, but it feels like it shouldn’t necessarily be broadcasted all over the place. And if I decided to go anywhere remotely close to a pentecostal fit, I might scare them- they’re all Nazarene in some capacity or another. I needed to leave.
I grabbed my phone and car keys and in my haste stumbled down the stairs a little before jogging out the front door to my car. My orange Hyundai Accent is probably my most reliable prayer closet. I hopped in, rolled the windows down and was on my way. I plugged my phone into the jack in the center console, flipped to my worship playlist in iTunes and began shuffling through songs. “Jesus, what are you in the mood for?” I asked.
John Mark McMillan? No. Leeland? Not today. Hillsong? Hell no. Why do I have that? Gungor? Alright. By this time, I had turned out of my miniature, dead-end neighborhood into some traffic. “I called Louise the other night about…”
My conversation with the Almighty was going swimmingly. I hadn’t really thought much about where I was going, so I headed east. Lucky Peak, the large reservoir on the other side of town is always a nice drive. I continued chatting away, raising concerns for and about people in my life. It’s one thing to pray for someone. It’s something completely different to pray about them.
Within minutes, I approached a red stoplight. As I slowed, still jabbering, I looked to my left and noticed a cute girl in the car next to me. I paused. To an outsider, I was a man, driving in his car with his windows down, listening to music. Talking- to no one in particular. I grabbed my phone and thought that maybe I should look like I was speaking to somebody, but realized that “Beautiful Things” was emanating from my small, orange vehicle. I really only had two options. I could stop talking, or continue on and let her and any other human who caught a glimpse of my conversation think I was a madman. She was attractive, but it wasn’t like I was going to ask for her number at any point, so I just went with it. At least I wasn’t gesticulating- yet. The stoplight was brief. I kept my focus on the road in front of me. I just made a sacrifice that any legalistic Jesus-person would have been proud of. Super Christian, right here.
As I continued on my drive, I hit that point where I became excessively aware of my shortcomings as a person and began to implore that the Lord would sanctify me and make me a less crappy human. In the middle of my supplication, a red convertible Mustang pulled up alongside me. It was transporting several medium-sized mutts and was piloted by a small woman with heaps of blonde hair piled on top of her head. The car sped ahead and swerved over right in front of me. Once in in my lane, the red Mustang’s small driver realized that the car transporting her and her piles of blonde hair and pets was moving at a speed much faster than the vehicle in front of it, so she stomped on the brakes.
Her right hand shot out and caught one of the beasts, but the rest disappeared as they fell off the seats onto the vehicle’s floor. I mashed down on my own brake pedal and instantly asked Jesus to keep me from rear-ending this woman. My tires squealed and interrupted Michael Gungor’s cries to make all things new. I swore, but miraculously got back into prayer mode. “See Jesus, that’s what I’m talking about! I don’t want that to happen anymore. Why can’t I be nicer, even when people are idiots?”
I flipped my turn signal on, mashed on the gas and made my way into the vacant left lane. I tried to stare the driver down as I passed her. She faced forward and refused to acknowledge my angry eyes. Good move, blonde lady. Her dogs all shifted to my side of her vehicle and barked at me as I passed them. “God, I probably just murdered all of them in my heart and you know it. What am I to do?”
The rest of the drive wasn’t much better. But I got some decent personal time in with the Almighty. Too bad I had to be reminded of my own impatience and shortcomings the entire time I prayed. I figured that next time, I’d just stay home to talk to Jesus, even if all of my roommates were around. I’d just have to be quiet when I prayed about them.