I stood at the bus stop, thinking about my music homework. I was almost done with a lengthy assignment that involved labeling and describing a long list of music items, and it was due in a day or two. I reviewed my work until a man interrupted me.
He had noticed me holding a book from my backpack, and wanted to talk about books. I set down the heavy pack, and we discussed books for a while. He was a little strange — at one point, he asked me if I would sell him my book — but ultimately, he seemed friendly enough.
The bus arrived, and I got on, still thinking about the book we had been discussing. As I stood there in the bus, I suddenly realized that I had left my backpack back at the bus stop. Panic hit when I remembered that my backpack was full of my music notes. I had days and days of work there, work that I couldn’t produce again quickly even if I had had an extra term list from the teacher — which I didn’t.
I asked the bus driver to stop and let me out, but he ignored me. I was panicking. Every second that I stayed on the bus was time that my backpack could be taken, and every block I passed on the moving bus was a block I would have to go back.
The driver was no help, so I climbed down into the bus stairs and wedged the door open. Then I jumped from the (slowly) moving bus out onto the sidewalk. By now I was seven blocks from the bus stop. I immediately started to run back towards the bus stop.
I wondered if the strange man would protect my backpack. It seemed like my best hope. But I didn’t know if I could trust him. Or if he was even still there — perhaps his own bus had come in the interim. I thought desperately, “I am not going to make it on time.” And as I ran, I said a little prayer in my mind.
It was a desperate prayer of bargaining. I picked out an area that I had been struggling with of late. And I articulated the words in my mind. “Heavenly Father, I know that recently I’ve been having trouble with [item]. Please, let my backpack be okay, and I’ll try to do better on that.”
The moment I closed the prayer, I woke up.
I lay there in bed, pulse racing, wondering whether my backpack was okay. I briefly thought that perhaps I should go back to sleep, quickly, to check on the backpack. After a moment, my mind woke more. And I started to wonder:
Was that an answered prayer?
Weighing against is the basic point that I was praying to help protect an item that didn’t really exist. On the other side, though, the prayer did result in immediate removal of that particular concern. The prayer resulted in my gaining an ability to see the problem in new perspective, and perhaps that’s the best kind of answer.
So . . . does this mean that I have to comply with my side of the bargain?