Mona was about to nod off, her head on the sterile white pillowcase. It smelled faintly of bleach, a sharp contrast to the fabric- softener-scented pillowcases she had at home. Travel was difficult- this was the seventh night in a row and she missed her cats.
“Better to miss cats than children.” She sighed and added, “better to travel now before I have kids.”
She longed to be married with children. Her young single lifestyle was anything but swinging- it seemed all she did was work. At least the company arranged nice hotels and a generous travel allowance for great food in fancy restaurants and custom dry cleaning picked up from her room each night. She silenced a longing-again. She knew God had a plan for her future.
Mona finished her devotional and turned out the light. Then the moaning started. Slow and soft at first, it seemed to be a woman’s voice- but a bit deeper than usual and rather throaty. Mona pitied her fate to be in room 331 next to a noisy hotel guest. And why when she paid top rates, had she ended up in a hotel with paper- thin walls? Her company usually confirmed top-notch accommodations. This time her room faced East, midway down a North-South hallway. She was looking forward to the sun shining in her window in the morning.
The noise stopped. Good. Mona had not wanted to consider what activities could be going on next door. She added a P.S. to her prayers, thanking God for quiet and requesting restful sleep. She returned to the smells of hotel pillows and the beginnings of dreamland when all of a sudden, she heard a thump next door. More strange human sounds soon vibrated the walls.
Unsure whether to call the front desk to request a room change or hope for deep sleep stages quickly, Mona considered putting cotton balls in her ears. Cursing her fate; adjacent to the room 333 moaner, she picked up the phone and pressed 0. A wave of nerves overwhelmed her and she hung up. She wondered how to describe the groans without sounding herself like a moaning idiot. What if it was that cute young man who registered her and gave her the keys? She’d be embarrassed describing moans. She’d sound like someone who lived a sheltered life- wait she did live a sheltered life! Certainly, cute young hotel clerks have had moaning complaints before. The noises stopped. Pheewww- she was relieved.
Mona got up for a drink of water. She did some deep breathing exercises and weighed her alternatives; a complaint call or sleeping amidst the moans. She tried the bed again and felt sleep tapping at the backs of her eyelids, trying to enter. Aaaaaahhhhh, sleep arrived.
She heard the sounds of water. She knew she had turned off the faucet. Why, this sounds like Pastor Jamie filling the baptismal font, she thought. Maybe the occupant of 333 is preparing for baptism.. The white robes smelled faintly of bleach and the water kept flowing. Mona startled awake.
Lord, why can’t people take baths at normal times?? Isn’t there a universal rule about faucets off by 10 p.m.? Frustrated and weary, she decided to talk with God again. She grabbed her Bible and randomly thumbed it open to Romans 8:27. There it was- the verse about groans.
“Thank you, God, for reminders.” Mona dialed room 333 with no trepidation, her heart calm and her head clear. A woman answered.
“This may seem like an unusual call, but I’m next door and I heard some sounds and wondered if you were OK? “ The woman sniffled.
“Thanks. I’m sorry to be noisy, but I just got a call from my babysitter. My teenage son came home drunk, my daughter’s sick and I can’t go home. If I’m absent from my morning meeting, I’ll be fired. My mom has cancer, my dad has Alzheimer’s. Honestly, since my husband died last year, there’s just too much going on. I don’t know what to pray for first. My pastor said that the spirit knows and that we should just groan and God would hear our prayers.”
“That’s beautiful,” Mona said, her eyes filled with tears. “Would you like to come over for some juice and prayers together?”
Forty minutes later, they were sound asleep in their own rooms, tummies filled with juice, minds filled with God’s love and two souls intertwined in budding friendship.
Mona knew that moans turned an ear.
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