A friend wanted me to take him to the Sri Mariamman Temple. As he worshipped, I stood quietly watching from a distance. The normal flow of people had quietly ebbed. I look around, realizing that the temple was empty. I gently rocked; consumed in a meditation about God and the ways we describe Divinity’s voice. There may have been others coming in; in the moment, I was alone.
“Are you watching or praying”
The sound caught me by surprise. “A little of both I suppose.”
Assuming she understood, she carried on without hesitation. “Do you know who you are looking at? Do you understand the sequence to your prayer?”
I thought I understood my dialogue but there was a story here. “Sort of…”
In the next few minutes, I received a crash course on the Sri Mariamman Temple and its deities. I also discovered a path to letting go of the frustration. It was an amazing lesson that I did not see coming.
As suddenly as she came, she left. I stood wondering why I had this story. As I reconnected with my friend, I related the story. As I started to express my confusion, the questions began to flow.
“What did she say specifically?” I recounted the details.
“What was the recommended sequence?” A, then B, and finally C.
“Did you understand the purpose?” I walked through the sequence as I understood it from our conversation. I had no idea where this was going.
“Thank you. I need a few more minutes, ok?”
As we walked out, I listened to a second story. It was filled with frustration and uncertainty. I heard how his prayers and offerings were perfectly time to make a powerful difference. To my surprise, I also learned that my retelling of my encounter had guided him to the answers he was seeking.
“After a time of greeting and small talk, Paul told the story, detail by detail, of what God had done among the non-Jewish people through his ministry. They listened with delight and gave God the glory.” (Acts 21.19)