Sunday, January 26, 2014

Almost Missed Opportunities: the Prayer Edition

I have been asked to write prayers for Bread for the Day again this year.  I got the e-mail on Friday.  Since that project has become one of my favorite kinds of writing, I said yes immediately. 

It made me think about how I almost missed this opportunity.

It was a chilly morning on a Saturday in February of 2011.  My spouse had an appointment at a church south of Miami with a Lutheridge staff person who was going to be in the area.  I had thought I would go to spin class and leave my spouse to make his own way down there, but at the last minute, I changed my mind.  We decided to have an adventure together.

Before we went, I checked my e-mail, and I noticed one from an editor for a devotional book.  Would I like to write prayers?  But it seemed the deadline had passed to say yes; I should have responded a few days earlier.  I shut down the computer and tried to console myself by thinking about the small sum of money that had been offered.  Small consolation, as I rarely get offered any money for my writing at all.  I sat in the car and watched the landscape zoom by and tried not to berate myself.

We drove through the foggy damp which sometimes turned to rain and drizzle.  We got to the church a bit early, and no one was there.  Stranger yet, the person who was cleaning up the grounds didn't know of any gathering that was planned, the one the Lutheridge staffer was coming to be part of.

Still, we waited.  When the Lutheridge staffer arrived, the groundskeeper unlocked the building.  How good to get out of the damp!

We had thought the Lutheridge staffer would want to talk to us about planned giving, but she had an even more interesting proposal.  Would he be willing to serve on the Board?  If so, more information would be forthcoming from the Board.  He said yes, he'd be interested.

We left so that the Lutheridge staffer could set up for her presentation to the group, the group that had forgotten that they invited her.  If we had known, we might have kept her company. 

It was such a quick meeting, such a long car trip for a 10 minute meeting.  So although it was chilly and damp, we decided to explore the botanical garden that we'd seen on our way in.  We walked along the pathways and enjoyed the trees and flowers.  I kept thinking about that e-mail and my missed opportunity to write prayers.  A part of my brain wondered if it really was too late.

On our way home, we stopped at an Irish pub to warm up.  I had the best French onion soup.  We watched the drizzle turned to soaking rain while we enjoyed being inside.  It was a perfect morning and afternoon.

Later that evening, I decided to write to the devotion book editor on the off chance he still needed someone.  He might say no based on the fact that I missed the deadline and thus, seemed unreliable.  But he might still need writers and be relieved to hear from me.

So, I wrote an e-mail, explaining that I'd been offline while at the AWP conference and would he still be in need of writers?  He wrote back immediately sounding thrilled that I could do it.  And the project became one of my favorites of that year, and the years since.

I am so glad that I took the chance and responded, even though I'd missed the deadline.  I'm so glad that the editor said yes.  I'm so glad I've had the chance to write prayers, year after year.

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