There Should Have Been A Puddle
by Kathy Ellis
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It was urgent! That feeling that comes when you ‘gotta go, gotta go, gotta go!’ and I mean RIGHT NOW! And here I was in the middle of an arena with 17000 other women in search of the shortest bathroom line!
Climbing the steps to the next level, I walked out into the concession area looking for the closest bathroom. Women swarmed around me, each one with a purposeful and sometimes desperate look on her face. The only way to move was sideways and I began to edge to my right.
“Excuse me... I’m sorry”
“Excuse me... can I get through here? Have you seen where the bathroom line is?”
“This is the bathroom line,” one lady spoke. And I thought “Oh No! I will never make it.” I stood there for a few minutes, pondering my pounding bladder... waiting for the line to move. Why in the world had I drank all that water?
A lightbulb came on! “I know! I will go down across the stadium floor to the handicapped entrance! No one else will think of that! Surely there will be a shorter bathroom line there!” I thought in my distress. It sounded like a plausible idea to me. So making my slow progress back into the stadium through the crowds of women, I reached the steps and went down as fast as I could while trying to maintain my continent state.
Finally! I found my way to the handicapped entrance. A woman was standing in the middle of that entrance with a very determined look on her face. She was speaking to several women as I tried to make myself invisible and sneak past her to those ceramic halls that were crying out my name! But my cloak of invisibility failed at the last second and she spotted me. Darn!
‘You can’t come this way”, she said. “But... I just need ..” “You can’t come this way...there are bathrooms on the upper level.”
Wasting no time, I began that hike up the steps again, only this time I was completely on the opposite side of the stadium from where my friends and I were sitting. Maybe, just maybe, the lines on this side wouldn’t be quite so long.
I made it to the upper level and was very surprised to find that it was much less crowded than the other side. Spotting a bathroom, I looked for the line and to my great relief, there were only about 50 people ahead of me! Stepping into the line, I took my position. No one had better try to butt in front of me. I had worked too hard for this.
Relaxing a bit, I looked around. People were walking, talking, eating. A nice looking young woman stepped up behind me.
“Is this the bathroom line?”
“Yes... I believe it is. I hope so anyway. I have been looking all over for the shortest one, and this seemed to be it.”
She said, “I hope I can wait. I really need to go to the bathroom bad!” I told her, “I know what you mean. Me too.”
To make conversation and pass the time, I asked her where she was from. “Texas” she said. “Oh really, me too!” “Where in Texas?” “You probably haven’t heard of it... Oak Grove”
“Yes! I have heard of it.” I’m from the Texarkana area.. Small world, huh?”
We began talking about the Christian women’s conference we were attending and she shared that she really needed some spiritual help. She had so many things going on. “My daughter, she is in so much trouble. She has a baby. I am raising it. She is mixed up with the wrong crowd, with satanists, drugs and alcohol. I don’t know what to do. She says she hates me,” she poured her heart out to this stranger she had just met in a bathroom line. We talked and talked and bonded with each other while waiting to relieve ourselves.
Finally! We are at the door and can see the bathroom stalls! What a glorious sight! Doors began to open and we each went to our separate stall to take care of urgent business. All the time I was thinking, “Lord, why didn’t I pray with her. She has so much heartache!” I kicked myself for not being bold enough to suggest a prayer.
Finishing up, I flushed the toilet and left the stall to wash my hands. Okay! Now I can think straight! I can walk straight too, for that matter!
I looked up and there she was. We both dried our hands and I asked “May I pray with you?”
“Yes!” she said. “I would like that.” So we found as quiet a corner as we could find in that stadium filled with over 17000 women and we prayed. I asked her daughter’s name and lifted both her and her daughter to the Lord in fervent prayer, asking Him to do His mighty work in both of them. When we finished and said our “Amen”, with tears in her eyes, she hugged my neck and thanked me. And I said, “No, no... thank you!”
She turned and walked away, and left me standing there amazed at how God had taken me from my home in Texas... to a stadium in Little Rock Arkansas..., across that sea of people..., through detours and barricades... to stand in a line next to her... so we could pray.
And we didn’t even leave behind an embarrassing puddle.
Kathy Ellis / October 2004
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