The Pantry Door

We have a pantry in our kitchen to the right of the refrigerator. It's a tall cabinet door with pull out shelves tucked away inside, filled with cereal, tea, crackers, and granola bars.

Almost every time I walk through the kitchen, the pantry door is open. It drives me crazy.

I exhale with a growl as I shut the door and script persuasive speeches in my imagination. I think of my husband and kids sitting at the table, while I demonstrate just how simple it is to shut that door and make the kitchen look less like a messy locker room.

Inevitably, the speeches don't come to fruition, as life moves quickly from that moment into the hustle of packing school lunches or eating dinner or figuring out what snack it's appropriate to give a starving child five minutes before his bedtime.

Until, serendipitously, the perfect moment finally appeared. I prepared homemade granola bars to replace the store bought ones my kids usually eat for breakfast. Bars kept on the bottom shelf of that pantry. My husband innocently said, "We will just have to make sure to close the pantry door so the dog doesn't eat them."

This was my moment. I looked at him sitting sweetly in his chair, and pontificated all the reasons he and the kids needed to do a better job of that. I moaned about how annoyed I felt whenever I came into the room and found the door hanging open.

He replied, "It's you who does it."

What!?! How dare he! Before I could launch into a perfectly crafted diatribe about my innocence, he just told me to turn around.

I did, and saw the pantry door, which I had left open after putting the granola bars away.

As embarrassed as I felt, I was also certain it was a fluke.

Until he gently pointed it out to me again at lunch, and then at dinner, and the next day, and...

It was me! It was me all along!

I thought about all the time and energy I had wasted feeling annoyed, getting frustrated, and planning my speeches, when all along, the only thing I needed to focus on was shutting the pantry door.

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It's obvious, but still worth saying because sometimes we think we are alone in our feelings: life can be stressful.

I wonder how much of that stress is brought on by our own thoughts. We spin things around and around in our minds and get consumed with judgment about the actions of others and plan all the things we will do and say when we finally get the chance.

Sometimes we just need to shut the pantry door, take a breath, and get on with making breakfast.

Grace, my friends. For you, for me, for all of us.

Sometimes we just need to shut the pantry door, take a breath, and get on with making breakfast.
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a boulder in the ocean

Psalm 93

I walk around with a boulder on my shoulders.

Its weight is familiar. I am accustomed to carrying it. I can’t imagine how my arms would feel without this weight pressing down upon them.

I wonder if I can put it down somewhere, for just a little bit of relief. But I can’t do that, can I? After all, it is mine. Could someone else actually handle its weight? It seems I was the one meant to bear this load.

Sometimes I look around and feel proud. My boulder seems bigger than other people’s rocks. I bet they couldn’t handle the size of this load. I must be important if I’m the one who’s been trusted to carry something like this.

Then, I hear a whisper.

“Yes, this rock was given to you. But not so you could carry it, so you could throw it.”

I make my way to the ocean, build up the courage, and heave the stone into the water. What seemed gigantic on my shoulders gets swallowed up in the vastness of the sea.

And it begins to shrink.

A boulder may be large and heavy, but it is no match for the rhythmic force of the waves beating against its side. It will shrink and shrink and shrink until it becomes just one of the many pebbles dotting the shore.

The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure. Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity.

The seas have lifted up, LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea— the LORD on high is mighty.

Your statutes, LORD, stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days.

- Psalm 93


That was my reflection on Psalm 93. Link up with your thoughts below. And stop back next week with thoughts on Psalm 94.

Numbering Our Days Aright

  Time passes differently while walking about the Alpine cities of Europe.

Sure, everything is different on vacation anyway. No looming deadlines. No daily obligations. No frantic efforts to complete a to-do list. (At least, this is vacation as it should be…)

But even if it wasn’t vacation, my time spent in Europe would have felt different.

For I realized just how small I am.

My eyes were surrounded by buildings erected hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of years before I had come to stand in front to them. And behind those, mountains, erected before the foundations of the cities were even laid.

My ears were surrounded with the chatter of languages I did not speak, and could not understand. Person after person had a story I would never know. I may have brushed by people considered very important in their businesses and families and communities, but to me, they were simply one of the crowd.

I was humbled.

If there are so many people around us in the here and now who will never know who we are, is there any chance who we are and what we do will have any sort of lasting impact? Hundreds of years from now, will any of the things that consume our days have made any difference?

We could take that thought in the direction of the teacher in Ecclesiastes, and wonder in despair if everything is meaningless. But that’s not the effect it had on me.

The sights of history and foreignness brought a sense of relief. These things I juggle everyday, that I struggle to keep afloat, that cause me to ache with the tiredness of fear that they might drop, none of them are as important as I make them out to be.

{Deep sigh}

When I read Psalm 90, its words have the same effect. To be honest, it is a psalm with a mixed bag of words, with some verses about wrath and anger I wish weren’t there. But also? It is a Psalm that brings perspective.

I am not that important. Thanks be to God.

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That was my reflection on Psalm 90 (with some pictures from my amazing European vacation this past fall.) Link up with your reflection below. Or come back next week with thoughts on Psalm 91.