When I was in fourth grade I had not been exposed to much religion yet. A little girl on the playground told me “Jesus takes care of little children”. Her name was Carla Phillips and she was evidently practicing to marry a minister, or be one, or was being raised by one. I can’t know. But she told me about praying and how prayers would come true.
Her statement hit me like I had just discovered gold.
I was the oldest of four and I believed that I was the one who had to take care of my little brothers in a very challenging home environment with a sick mother and an absent father. So this news was quite a relief. I was excited to get home and test the theory.
I walked through the door and gathered my three little brothers around (my mother was typically sleeping during most days).
“Hey you guys, guess what? You’re not gonna believe this, but Carla Phillips says there’s a guy named Jesus who will take care of us if we pray, and she showed me how to do it!”
They had some questions that I couldn’t answer, but reluctantly, they followed my instructions about the praying part— just in case.
So we all got down on our knees, just like Carla Phillips had said we should. I lined us up in a row next the radiator that heated our living room.
I kept Mikey next to me so he wouldn’t squirm and scare Jesus away (He was only three).
There we were, four kids ages 3, 6, 7, and 8, with our hands clasped together, faces near the floor, and butts in the air, next to the radiator like it was the holy mecca of magically appearing people we had never heard of.
I prayed out loud so my brothers would know what we were supposed to be praying for.
I had explained beforehand that we had to believe in the guy because this magic had something to do with “faith”.
“Dear Jesus”, I guess I thought praying was like writing a letter to a stranger, “If you are really there, and Carla Phillips is telling the truth, please make a loaf of bread appear on top of the heater when we open our eyes.” I waited for a moment and added, “Thank you if this is true.”
We stayed there, with our butts in the air, and our eyes squeezed shut, for a few more seconds to give the Jesus guy time to sneak the loaf of bread onto the top of the radiator.
Then I opened my eyes, looked on top of the radiator, and nudged the boys into getting off the floor.
“Never mind you guys, Carla Phillips lied”, I said matter of factly, “There ain’t no guy named Jesus, and there ain’t no loaf of bread on the heater.”
I tested the Carla Phillip’s theory a few times later, when my brothers were not present, but always the same result.
Thank you, Carla Phillips, for trying to give me some faith.
I found my own version decades later.
Yesterday, I was helping some friends, Linda and Dave, in the garden. Rye grass seed was being scattered by one of them, and a few of the seeds landed on the deck. I made a joke about them magically sprouting into a loaf of rye bread overnight.
This morning, I was sitting on the patio and the same friend who scattered the rye grass seed, put a loaf of rye bread on the table.
I burst into tears and laughter simultaneously.
Maybe a loaf of bread can appear from seedling prayers. Jesus took a while, and he looked a lot like my friend, Dave, but I know now, that manifestation of one’s destiny is a journey of faith. And faith can come when you least expect it—with a sense of humor.