Thankful Notes (#171)
Sunday was, of course, Super Bowl Sunday… which meant we weren’t having our usual 5pm church service with a meal served after. It was also the week after Vision Day—our annual celebration of the good things from the previous year and a faith-filled look forward to what we will be doing together this year.
The opening lines of my sermon on Sunday were these:
“Last week was Vision Day—and it was all fresh-baked cinnamon rolls for everyone and confetti falling from the sky and little surprise gifts for the kids.
And so, today is the let down.
No free food. No confetti. No gifts for kids. It’s just me standing up here; that’s all you get.”
I like acknowledging this reality: nobody can sustain “bigger, better, all-new and improved, this is gonna blow your mind” in life. Nobody.
Life has its big moments and it has an enormous (and absolutely necessary) amount of normal, routine, usual ones.
A wedding is one of those big moments—and yet, it’s not the wedding that makes a marriage… it’s the daily routines without tuxes and white dresses and photographers and rose petals on the ground.
A birth is one of those big moments—and yet, it’s not the birth that makes a family… it’s the daily routines of meals together, bedtime stories, bath time, chores, help with homework, kissing owies and putting band-aids on them, saying prayers together, etc.
In my family, there were some spectacular meals I can remember—usually on Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter. They were spectacular because of the quantity and diversity and quality of the food being served. They were in no way usual or normal or routine… no, they were once-a-year big moments, big meals.
I find it fascinating that my favorite meal, when I think about all the meals my mom ever made for us, was not one of the big holiday meals. My favorite was what she called, “round steak and gravy with rice.”
This meal was in the regular rotation of maybe 14 usual things she would make for dinners. It was one of the cheapest cuts of beef cooked for a loooooooong time. The gravy was homemade, from the drippings. And the rice was just plain old white rice.
This is the meal I associate with memories of my mom. This is what I would request as my last meal if I was on death row. To me, this meal represents home, family, nurture, and love.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday meals too. I love the bigness and extravagance of them. I love the surprises and desserts we don’t usually have. I love the extended family members that come and the need to put an extra leaf in the table so there is room for everyone.
But I believe in the goodness and grace of ordinary moments—and I am thankful for them… because I’m pretty sure it was these ordinary, routine, usual moments that have formed and shaped me into who I am today much more than the big ones ever could.
“The fast pace of our lives makes it difficult for us to find grace in the present moment, and when the simple gifts at our fingertips cease to nourish us, we have a tendency to crave the sensational.”