Last Friday Darlene left a message on my cell phone asking me to pray for her. She said she was behind in the rent on the lot where her family had their mobile home. She explained that she had been sick and gotten behind when she lost her job, that her credit was "shot," and that she had a court hearing Monday to determine whether she should be evicted. She asked for prayer that God would grant her a "financial blessing," (which sounds suggestive of a "prosperity gospel" diet on her part.)
The problem with this is that I have no idea who Darlene is, but her 972 area code indicates that she's not from these parts. When I listened to her message Friday, I wasn't sure if I should call her back and let her know she had the wrong number. I figured she must have copied down a number incorrectly, perhaps one associated with one of the TV preachers (I have an 800 number associated with my cell phone. Yikes! can you imagine if your 800 number was one digit off from the number for Benny Hinn et al?). I had visions of being sucked into a lengthy conversation where she relates all the personal trials of her life, ending with a final plea that I send money. I was reluctant to take the risk. I figured she'd get the number right next time. But. . . I did pray for Darlene and her situation. I figured that's as good as Benny Hinn praying, right?
Apparently Darlene did not get the number right the next time. At 1:40 AM this morning, she left another message advising that she had gone to court and been granted an extension of time until October 23rd to pay her back rent on the trailer lot ($6000!). She requested prayer that God would grant some financial blessing to allow her to pay the rent. Well, I prayed. But I wonder if I should call Darlene?
Naah. To do so might tamper with the plot for my next short story, as I already have imagined more of Darlene's life than she will tell me, and it can't be half as interesting as what my mind has conjured up. Let's see: Darlene ( a nice southern name), trailer park, eviction notice, 972 area code (that's Dallas, oh my, a place rich in imaginings), lost job, hard luck, televangelist, '"financial blessing," and so on. To find out what her life is really like would destroy the fictional world that's already pressing in on me. And besides -- her needs are on God's heart and mind, anyway.
So Darlene, thank you for the story. I'm praying for you. I hope and pray your story has a good ending, that your true needs are met. And please, please don't send your money to Benny Hinn (if you are). You better pay the rent.