By the way she slammed the car door and flopped into the backseat, I knew she wasn’t happy.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I don’t want to wear this,” she said showing me a heavily sequined one piece black costume. “It scratches my skin and it’s ugly.”
In the rear view mirror, I could see the red marks on her neck.
“Our costumes haven’t come in yet and they are saying that we might not have them in time for the show, so they gave us these from a bin. They were leftovers from other shows.”
The skating school where she attended put on an annual performance so that the students could show off their tricks and newly learned maneuvers for their families.
The recital included costumes, themed numbers, photographs for the program and hours of preparation. I had turned in my payment for her participation before December to ensure her outfit would arrive on time. It was now March and the deadline was coming up quickly.
“If I have to wear this, I don’t want to be in the show.”
I sighed and did what I only knew to do. I closed my eyes and prayed in the parking lot. I didn’t care who saw me or what others would think of me. If this was important to my daughter, then it was urgent to me.
I didn’t recite a long drawn out request but stated the facts that we needed the costume as soon as possible. While praying with my eyes shut, I saw a cardboard box that was sealed on the top. It was a vivid image that came and went as soon as I opened my eyes.
I put the worn out costume away when we got home, and during the week when I encountered it, I would recall my plea to heaven and remind myself that I had asked for this to be made right. My daughter, on the other hand, was not so sure about it being resolved. She suddenly would get quiet and sullen as if imagining having to wear the uncomfortable material for the show. I understood her disappointment and tried to reassure her that it would all work out.
The next time she went in for practice, we reluctantly took the unwanted outfit with us as she was told to do. I had called the school during the week to check on the order status. The instructor informed me that the company that was to make and send the costumes claimed they had lost the order.
“They took our money and now are telling us that they probably won’t be ready in time for the recital.”
I chose not to tell my daughter this unhappy news. I hung on to the fact that I had prayed for what we wanted to happen and shut off the idea of it not happening.
That night when she got into the car her irritation was evident.
“I am not going to be in the show if I have to wear this.” I started the car, pulled out into the street and wondered,
Why was there no resolution to this?
It wasn’t looking good, so that same week when she went in for another practice, I decided to stop in and speak with the school owner.
“Any news on the costumes?” I asked.
She smiled slightly.
“We only got one box this afternoon, and the company told us that this will be the only shipment they will be sending out in time for pictures and the show.” There were a lot of kids in the school, so this was not the greatest of news.
She led me to her office where I saw a taped cardboard box. It looked strangely familiar. She opened it and handed me a beautiful sparkling navy blue skating outfit. While holding the item in my hands, I was overwhelmed not only that we had received it but that the box was the exact one I had seen for that brief moment while praying in the car.
“Your daughter’s class will be the only one who will be wearing the right costumes. The rest will have to wear the older ones we have on hand.”
“I have to show her this,” I said. I could hardly contain my excitement.
Looking through the observation window, I saw her out on the ice warming up. I waved to get her attention while holding up the dress. By the smile she gave me, she understood.
It’s these moments that I reflect on when faced with situations that seem to have no end in sight. A request made is never gone unheeded by heaven, and the love that God has for us is beyond what we could ever imagine. Even the divine is very much aware that the show must go on.
(The actual costume)