I had gotten an ear full earlier that night from some of the girls at work about a particular customer. Difficult, obsessive, aggressive, never tips; comes in once or twice a day, and sometimes pesters the girls on their breaks, (though none of them seemed especially phased by that part). It was more just a general grousing session about someone who, while they may be a perfect child of god, behaves like an ass.
Walking home tonight, footsore, my mind wandering, I recalled their description of this individual, and began to imagine scenarios in which I had to deal with him; how rude he would be and what I would say in response. "He'll say _______ and then I'll smile and come back with ___________, or he'll say __________, and I will tell him that it is not in our job description to tolerate rude or abusive language, but then he'll ... and I'll..." Each round of the imagined exchange escalating in verbiage and intensity.
To my great credit, this only lasted for a couple of blocks before I realized what I was doing and started laughing at myself: "You're doing it again, Mr. SponsorPants. You are having an argument in your mind with someone who isn't here -- but even better, this time you're having an argument in your mind with a man you haven't even met yet!" my better self mock-scolded.
I said a little prayer, in time with my tired footsteps, asking God to heal this warped mechanism within my mind, to help me cease this mental shadowboxing in which I create resentment filled situations out of thin air, with people who aren't present, or haven't said those things, or sometimes I don't even know.
Maybe it was Divine Intervention, maybe it was fatigue coupled with the absurdity of what I had been thinking, but I had a fit of the giggles which, like fizzy bubbles, cleared my mind and set my thoughts on a much nicer plane.
Time and again I experience this Truth:
Prayer does not change the world.
Prayer changes me.
(If not permanently, then at least as often as needed!)