My mother used to say, “Prayer is like a telephone call to God; you’ll always have a dial tone and you’ll never get a busy signal.”
Everyday for the past twenty-five years my mother’s old fashioned sun-shined colored telephone would ring at 3 o’clock every afternoon. Everyday at 3 o’clock my mother rushed to answer the telephone and she’d sit in silence as she cradled the receiver to her ear.
She never revealed who or what was on the other end of the receiver. Sometimes her face glowed with an unexpected radiance and sometimes tears flowed down her weathered face like stream rushing into a river. Her demeanor waned and wanted with the tides of time as she trialed through years of pain, prosperity and promise. She clung to that three o’clock telephone call as someone drowning would cling to a life preserver.
Everyday as my mother cradled the telephone near her ear; my five year old mind cradled thoughts of Big Bird, Barney or maybe it was daddy begging to come home. Or maybe she was talking to Jesus.
She talked to Jesus a lot with her bedroom closed especially late at night and early in the morning. When she was angry I was convinced she was talking to the devil and boy I sure was going to be in a lot of trouble when she got off the phone with him.
“Mom,” I whispered. “I miss you so much.”
And yet I wasn’t even home or anywhere close to. I was almost halfway across the world in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean trying to get home, rushing to get home to be at my dying mother’s beside.
The last time we’d spoken I’d told her that I hated her and never wanted to see her again. I stormed out of my mother’s house suitcase in hand and for thirteen years never looked back until now as I rushed home.
She called me every holiday and birthday to tell me how much she loved and missed me. Sometimes I’d answer the phone and sometimes I wouldn’t but she was always meant with silence on the other end of the line.
“I love you, Jenna,” she whispered with motherly love. “Don’t forget He loves you too.”
Tears streamed down my face as they had my mother’s on many occasions for the month, the years and the time wasted. I shuddered in fear at the thought of not being about to tell her goodbye.
“Please Lord,” I cried struggling to maintain my composure. “Please don’t let me be too late. I’ll never forgive myself if I don’t get the chance to say goodbye or tell her how much I love her.”
I silently thought, “Or how much her prayers finally led me to you.”
My thoughts were interrupted, “This Dana, your airline stewardess announcing that we will be touching down in Lansing, Michigan in another five minutes. We ask that you secure…..”
I decidedly tuned out the rest of the arrival announcement as I silently prepared my own arrival home. The prodigal daughter has finally returned home after thirteen long, lonely and destitute years. I’ve wandered through the proverbial pig slough and I’ve finally come home. Silently I prayed I wasn’t going to be too late.
Over the years prayer had become much like it was for my mother for me. It’d become a constant source of faith, frustration and fruitfulness. In the solitude of my life I sought my Savior and my source of salvation.
I glanced at my watch reading 2:30pm. Suddenly once again my wandering thoughts were interrupted by cell phone ring tone.
“Hello,” I answered. “Yes, this is her……what…..that can’t be right. Please…..tell….me…..no….that….can’t…right…..She’s……supposed….to…wait….Thank….you…”
I stood alone amongst the crowd of fellow travelers tears streaming down my face and I stared at the cell phone image beholden in my hand. I wanted to take that cell phone and throw it as far as I could and then I wanted to run away as fast as I could away from all these prying eyes.
“God,” I shouted. “This isn’t fair it should’ve been there. She shouldn’t of had to die alone without me there by here side. I promise…”
In the middle of my ranting and raving my cell phone suddenly rang. I cautiously answered the phone, “Hello.”
I glanced at my watch and tears began streaming down my face and my hand raised up towards heaven. It was three o’clock.
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