Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my family and I were traveling and met relatives at a hotel for a few days. We had a great time catching up, hanging out by the pool, shopping and going out for a delicious pre-Thanksgiving meal. As our time came to an end on Thanksgiving Day, we checked out of the hotel and were about to go on our way until noticing that our hotel bill was over $100 more than it should have been. We had had some issues with customer service while we were there and I was dreading this conversation.As I made my way back into the hotel, I prayed asking God to help me handle this in a way that would honor him. I had been in this situation before and I wanted this time to be different.
I made my way to the counter and spoke with one clerk who quickly took off a small portion that she recognized was a mistake. Then, she called the supervisor to deal with the additional overcharge. The supervisor said that she couldn’t change the amount and that I would have to speak to the manager who wasn’t coming in for another 3 hours. I expressed that we were heading back home and couldn’t wait to speak with him; I also stated that I didn’t want to leave when I didn’t agree with the charges that were made to my card. My husband and I asked questions and she did her best to answer them, but we weren’t getting any closer to a resolution. We were getting more and more frustrated, but somehow kept our cool. Then, all of a sudden, she said that she’d be able to adjust the charges. We profusely thanked her and then she told me that this was her first Thanksgiving without her mother. I told her I was sorry and would pray for her today. She made her way around the counter and proceeded to give me a hug. I then said, “Is it OK if I pray for you here and now?”, and she said yes. There we stood at a busy Sheraton hotel front desk embracing in a hug while I prayed with her.She was grateful, and I was in shock that I just did something that was totally out of my comfort zone. Somehow, I wasn’t worried about what others thought of me or how it looked. Somehow, I was able to do what God had prompted me to do at the moment he prompted me to do it. I didn’t argue with God as I had done so many times before. Why was this time different? Prayer. I asked for help and HE gave me strength.
I know this experience was not by chance: God had planned this moment and had orchestrated these events. I thought about how many times before I had failed miserably at extending grace to others. In situations like these, I sometimes get mouthy and say things that I regret. I only think about my life – my time, my money, etc. I wonder how many opportunities I’ve missed because I’ve been focused on me.I pray that as a New Year begins, I will see more of HIM and less of me in my everyday life. I pray that I will not miss opportunities to do things of eternal significance because I’m wrapped up in myself. I pray that I will have more concern for others and where they are than worrying about my to-do list. I pray that when HE gives me another opportunity, I won’t miss it. I hope that I will remember how important prayer is in my everyday life. HE wants to be invited into all of our interactions with others because it is only in HIS strength that we can do what HE calls us to do.
“…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”