Monday, September 22, 2008

'Remembering' an E-Mail from Long Ago

Sometimes when I get really caught up in "life" in general...I remember this e-mail. Maybe you've seen it or read it. It's worth printing here. I did not write this, I'm just passing it along. It still fits with our theme... If you know who really wrote it...chime in.


Not too long ago I had "one of those days." I was feeling pressure from a writing deadline. I had company arriving in a couple days and the toilet was clogged. I went to the bank, and the trainee teller processing my deposit had to start over three times. I swung by the supermarket to pick up a few things and the lines were serpentine. By the time I got home, I was frazzled and sweaty and in a hurry to get something on the table for dinner.

Deciding on Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, I grabbed a can opener, cranked open the can, then remembered I had forgotten to buy milk at the store. Nix the soup idea. Setting the can aside, I went to plan B, which was leftover baked beans. I grabbed the Tupperware container from the fridge, popped the seal, took a look and groaned. My husband isn't a picky eater, but even HE won't eat baked beans that look like caterpillars.

Really frustrated now, I decided on a menu that promised to be as foolproof as it is nutrition-free: hot dogs and potato chips. Retrieving a brand new bag of chips from the cupboard, I grabbed the cellophane and gave a hearty pull. The bag didn't open. I tried again. Nothing happened. I took a breath, doubled my muscle, and gave the bag a hearty wrestle. With a loud pop, the cellophane suddenly gave way, ripping wide from top to bottom. Chips flew sky high. I was left holding the bag, and it was empty.

It was the final straw. I let out a blood curdling scream. "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!" My husband heard my unorthodox cry for help. Within minutes he was standing at the doorway to the kitchen, where he surveyed the damage: an opened can of soup, melting groceries, moldy baked beans, and one quivering wife standing ankle deep in potato chips. My husband did the most helpful thing he could think of at the moment. He took a flying leap, landing flat-footed in the pile of chips. And then he began to stomp and dance and twirl, grinding those chips into my linoleum in the process!

I stared. I fumed. Pretty soon I was working to stifle a smile. Eventually I had to laugh. And finally I decided to join him. I, too, took a leap onto the chips. And then I danced. Now I'll be the first to admit that my husband's response wasn't the one I was looking for. But the truth is, it was exactly what I needed. I didn't need a cleanup crew as much as I needed an attitude adjustment, and the laughter from that rather funky moment provided just that.

So now I have a question for you, and it's simply this: Has God ever stomped on your chips? I know that, in my life, there have been plenty of times when I've gotten myself into frustrating situations and I've cried out for help, all the while hoping God would show up with a celestial broom and clean up the mess.

What often happens instead is that God dances on my chips, answering my prayer in a completely different manner than I had expected, but in the manner that is best for me after all. Sometimes I can see right away that God's response was the best one after all. Sometimes I have to wait weeks or months before I begin to understand how and why God answered a particular prayer the way he did. There are even some situations that, years later, I'm still trying to understand. I figure God will fill me in sooner or later, either this side of Heaven or beyond.

Do I trust Him? Even when he's answering my prayers in a way that is completely different from my expectations? Even when he's dancing and stomping instead of sweeping and mopping? Can I embrace what He's offering? Can I let His joy adjust my attitude? Am I going to stand on the sidelines and sulk, or am I willing to learn the steps of the dance he's dancin' with my needs in mind? I'll be honest with you: Sometimes I sulk. Sometimes I dance. I'm working on doing more of the latter than the former. I guess the older I get the more I realize that He really does know what He's doing. He loves me and I can trust Him. Even when the chips are down.

-Author Unknown

Addendum from Meggy-girl...
As I've read my e-mail over the weekend, once again I realized I am such a blessed woman. My little piddly problems amount to zilch when I read how other families in our homeschool community are dealing with losing a precious child or having sick children...and I don't even have potato chips all over the floor--just dirt that Mr. Fix-It tracked in! Yep! I'm a blessed woman...

Stay tuned!

6 Click here to Comment!:

mamajil said...

This my friend was a great post for me to start my day on! Hope you have a happy Tuesday!

Grandmama said...

Meg, what a great e-mail. Thank you for sharing. I had't seen that one before and it will definately be beneficial to me.

Have a wonderful day.

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Thanks for posting this, Meg.

God has really been speaking to me a LOT lately about perspective. This fit right in with what He's been saying all along. :-)

Have a great day today!!
Love, Chel

MamaHenClucks said...

I think there have been times when my potato chips were ground to dust. But oh the things that I was able to understand once my perspective was changed.

This is a GREAT post. You are right, there are days when I forget how truly blessed I am and that even when I don't see God's hand on my life, I know that it is there. Thanks :)

Debbie said...

I love that story! Is the author really unknown, or do you just not remember who it was? Fess up Meg!

It is all about perspective, isn't it? An eternal one is the only way to persevere here - but in the mean time I think I'll stomp on a few chips (but my perfectionism would compel me to do it outside :)

Laura said...

Loved this post (and Debbie's comment). Who knew such great insight could come from a bag of chips?