Our family loves pie, so I encourage my kiddos to join me in the kitchen for a baking session the day before Thanksgiving. (Their future wives will thank me, right?)
A couple years ago my husband I were forging ahead to tackle Thanksgiving-shopping together two nights before Thanksgiving despite being tired from a recent trip. The grocery store was a hopping place even late at night. We dodged around full carts and bustling shoppers, sometimes kneeling to reach into the very back of a shelf to get one of the last cans of pumpkin.
While my dutiful husband zipped off on a mission to find pecan halves, I observed those around me also on similar quests. Spouses were paired up, one armed with a long list half-checked off and the other dashing across the aisle to get the next item on the list. Although it was loud and chaotic, I observed a certain "peaceful and quiet" camaraderie between the silver-haired teams. The attention and focus on the task at-hand reflected years of practice amidst the frenzy of other shoppers, some with kids hanging off carts and pleas of "Are we done yet?" echoing in their wake.
Although we might not be able to control the noise and chaos in our surrounding environments, we can adjust our own attitudes toward such ordinary tasks and built-in hustle of the season. These seasoned couples navigated the aisles like pros, using a shorthand between them like coaches give their team the next play. They maintained their "peaceful and quiet" demeanor despite the occasional bump from other shoppers.
As I tried to explain to my helper that pecan halves were preferable to pecan bits because they made a prettier-more-held-together pie, we dodged around employees valiantly restocking shelves in an effort to keep up with the feasters' demands.
We persevered and made it to checkout, but no sacker was available to manage our growing mound of food now hurtling down the conveyor belt. My husband stepped in, quickly loading bags and joking with the cashier about being "well-trained."
I smiled to myself as I saw an inkling of our progress toward becoming a seasoned shopping team like the ones we had just passed. Our venture seemed a little haphazard, but maybe there was hope for us yet.
Thankfully, God gives us grace to keep practicing together in this race of life. We're able to have coaches both direct and indirect about how to proceed peacefully with one another, quietly nudging each other along toward God's path for us.
I'm grateful for God's protection over us, from those long-ago days of being high school sweethearts to now being parents of 3 kids surging through high school and college.
As we all gather around our various tables during the upcoming holidays and grasp hands with whomever is beside us, may we take a moment to savor the "peaceful and quiet" blessings God provides in small moments on our ordinary days.
May we focus on those things that bring us together - - family ties, tradition, love for one another - - and, yes, pecan pie.
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