It started before we ever got in the car. She couldn't find her jacket or her permission slip and her socks were all dirty. I never made it to the grocery store and the breakfast choices were slim to none. It was Monday and we were running late, to make matters worse. I was irritated with her shortcomings and she was irritated with mine. So there we sat silent, each avoiding eye contact with the other, each wishing the ride to school were shorter. I wheeled through the fog into the convenience store so she could get a nice healthy breakfast like pop-tarts or powdered donuts and she balked, saying she didn't have time to stop. Great. Now, I would have to feel guilty that she didn't eat. I made an angry u-turn and an equally angry sigh. She began to tear up.
When we got close to the school, I gave her my phone like every other day and asked her to read the Psalm for the day. She read it in a broken voice.
"Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy!
In your faithfulness, answer me.
Enter not into judgement with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore, my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands; I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like parched land.
Answer me quickly, O lord, for my spirit fails.
Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down in the pit.
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in You I trust." (Psalm 143:1-8)
And then we said the Lord's prayer in unison like we always do,
Our Father, who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy name,
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory
Forever and ever, Amen.
And with the very words of God himself we are restored to fellowship with each other. She wipes her eyes and I hug her tight before she gets out of the car.
So simple, so powerful.
Just a few life-giving words and the prayer that Jesus gave us to pray. His Word creating faith where there is doubt, love where there is strife, forgiveness where there is sin—the morning commute and all its stress redeemed by better words than we would ever think to say.
And tomorrow, we'll do it all over again.