Playing it by ear

by Elouise

God isn’t looking for perfection.  God is looking for me within my messy everyday life.  God is offering me an opportunity to play it by ear.  Here’s an account of an early attempt to do just that.  I wrote this in December 2006 as part of my work on Something about Mary.

On a recent rainy day I said to God—
‘OK God, I’m going to walk in the mall today.
I’m going to practice keeping my eyes and heart open
for whomever you send my way.
I don’t want to miss an opportunity
for you to ‘help yourself’ to my life.’

Good start, Elouise!

Now I’m at the mall.
I walk around, eyes wide open.

I can scarcely believe it—
Nobody makes eye contact with me.
No one at all, except one woman
who gets caught looking at me
and quickly averts her eyes.


I decide that walking around
looking at people directly
who aren’t looking back at me
may not be the best way
to meet whoever it might be.

I pick a bench in a central part of the mall
and sit there expectantly.

Many people walk by,
but no one seems to want to sit with me.
Besides that, they’re talking to each other,
or they’re in a great big hurry.

I eat my little snack,
drink some water,
and decide to take
one more turn around the mall.

Wouldn’t you know it—
no one seems a likely candidate!
I look at my watch.
Time to go home.

On my way to the mall exit
I pass behind one more bench.
An elderly woman is sitting there, alone.

Within the space of about five seconds
I realize I could sit down with her,
smile and greet her,
and see what happens.

Also within the space of about five seconds,
I say to myself,
‘This couldn’t be the one—
it’s too late—
I’m on my way home!
Besides, I don’t want to get caught
in the late afternoon traffic.’

I walk on by and out of the mall.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 1 December 2014