Every morning I board the commuter bus to downtown Houston. Most days, I take a book to read while on the bus. I've found that riding an adult bus isn't nearly as fun as the bus rides I remember during my school days. Back then, you talked to your fellow bus riders to pass the time. Most days on the bus, nobody talks to each other, so I've taken to reading.
Lately I've been reading 'Traveling Mercies' by Anne Lamott; it's a good read, and I'm nearly done. Today, however, I reached in my laptop bag and found that the book was AWOL, probably hiding in the backseat of my car. Since my reading plans had been thwarted, I decided to pull out my ipod and listen to some music and podcasts.
So there I am, happily listening to a podcast and looking out the window while the bus carries us to our downtown destinations via the HOV lane when a hand painted sign in the middle of an empty field catches my eye. The sign said 'Jesus Loves You'. Now, you must understand that had I seen that sign 2.5 years ago when I first moved to Houston, my first thought would have been "Yeah! Right!", thought in a very sarcastic way of course. I know this for a fact because, at the time, there were huge billboards all around the city that were put up by the local christian radio station that had the words 'God Listens' in black on a plain white background (maybe they should have bought the red-letter edition billboards). I hated seeing those billboards; things were falling apart around me -- finances, family issues -- and I didn't see any answers (no, no one sent me a check for $50,000 to solve all my financial woes). I had even called that radio stations 'prayer line' only to get the standard 'God Listens, we will pray for you.' Anne Lamott says that the 2 best prayers she knows are 'help me, help me, help me' and 'thank you, thank you, thank you'. I was definitely praying the 'help me, help me, help me' prayer back then. I can admit now that, for the first time in my life, I began to contemplate how to best end my life; pills? plastic bag? high speed car accident? That's when I got an answer to my 'help me, help me, help me' prayers in the most unusual way. Somehow, the book 'So you don't want to go to church anymore?' ended up on the results of a google search, and that book lead me into a place where I could breath again and begin to see God's Love for me afresh.
So today when I saw that little sign in the field, with the words 'Jesus Loves You' written in red, I smiled. Something has definitely shifted inside me because I believed the words. I don't know how to explain it; my eyes must have been playing tricks on me because I could have sworn that the sign materialized right in front of my eyes as I was looking at the field, and I felt like I was meant to see the sign. Just think, if my book hadn't been misplaced, I would have never seen it. All I have to say is 'Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!'