So I'd like to share an amusing experience that happened to me this evening.
Please note that the names in the following story have not been changed so as to implicate the guilty!
This evening I decided that having a snack of celery and peanut butter sounded quite delicious. A very simple thing really. What could go wrong!? Little did I know that total and absolute anarchy was about to ensue. I entered the kitchen, alone, met only by a quiet and peaceful setting. I opened the fridge, got out the newly bought celery, and took it to the counter. I then removed two sticks of celery, rinsed them off and placed them on the counter - all the while I'm still immersed in my blissful state of peace and tranquility. I put the remaining celery back in the plastic bag and returned the bag to the fridge. I then went to get a knife out of the pantry (none were in the drawer) to cut my celery.
As I was getting my knife, my sense of calm was suddenly shattered. Out of the kitchen I heard a voice (Maddi), "Mmm, celery." "Yeah, celery," exclaimed another voice (Laney). The first voice astutely noticed that there were two pieces of celery and two hungry bellies. "Look Laney! Two pieces of celery one for me and one for you."
Their timing couldn't have been more perfect. By the time I had left to get my knife, got my knife, and returned, two anarchists had shown up, infiltrated the kitchen and thieved my two long sticks of celery.
Feeling defeated, I placed my knife on the counter, let out a soft sigh, and returned to the fridge to fetch more celery. As I returned to the counter with my bag of celery I quickly noticed that now my knife had gone missing. A quick glance around the room revealed the perpetrator. "Thanks dad for the knife. I needed it to cut my celery," Maddi told me in her soft, tender voice.
At this point additional footsteps could be heard entering the kitchen. I knew I was in trouble. Four against one never turns out well - not in the past, not now, nor will it ever turn out well. The new footsteps (Kayla and Emily) worked on toasting some Eggo waffles. "Harmless enough," I thought. "It doesn't appear that they are after my celery." Turns out I was right about my celery being safe. It was the "harmless enough" I was wrong about.
By now, I had returned to the fridge, got more celery, rinsed more celery, and gotten another knife. Check, check, and check. I was feeling pretty good about myself. Several successes in a row and I was still alive to tell about it. Nothing could stop me now. I went and got a plate and put it on the table. I didn't even give a second thought as to the safety of my plate. Yep, pride cometh before the fall.
I went to the get the peanut butter out of the storage room and upon returning to the kitchen my eyes met the most beautiful princess (Emily) I had ever seen. The problem was she was in my chair and her Eggo waffle was on my plate. "Oh sorry honey. Were you going to sit here?"
"Was I going to sit there? Was I going to sit there? Are you kidding!," I thought. "No, honey. You're welcome to sit there," I replied.
I placed the jar of peanut butter on the table and embarked on my journey to get a new plate. By this time at least 30 minutes had passed and I still hadn't gotten to sit down with my celery and peanut butter - all while everyone else was enjoying their freshly made snack. I'm convinced this is what the scriptures meant when they say "the first shall be last and the last shall be first" - First to enter the kitchen means you will be the last one to eat!
Well, I returned with my plate in hand only to see a sight that simply left me in utter disbelief, disillusionment, and discombobulation. Four conniving anarchists were huddled around my fresh, new jar of peanut butter laughing and giggling without a care in the world enjoying succulent spoonfuls of that same peanut butter I labored vigorously to retrieve. I had walked down 13 stairs, through the garage, into the storage room, back through the garage, up those same 13 stairs and into the kitchen to get that peanut butter. No man, or woman for that matter, should be required to labor so much to get a jar a peanut butter. But I did. You know why? Because all I wanted, all I had wanted for the past 30 minutes, was celery and peanut butter.
I was defeated. No, not feeling defeated. Literally defeated. I walked over to the peanut butter waiting for the opportune moment to make my move. When that time came I took the peanut butter, got a scoop, put in on my plate with my celery, sat down at the table and began cutting my celery into smaller pieces. Everyone looked at me like, "What's his problem?"
Not 30 seconds went by when one of the anarchists (Laney) cried out, "A knife. I need a knife. Where's my knife?" I had a faint glimmer of hope that someone might get her a knife or that she might get her own knife, but when the shrieking didn't let up I took one last fond look at my knife (please note that this was a plastic knife. this info is important so you don't think I was trying to intentionally injure someone) and said my farewells. I tried to toss my knife to Laney but having undergone intense emotional duress for the past 30 minutes my aim was off and I nailed another one of the anarchists (Kayla) right in the head.
I got a mean look from Kayla (rightfully so) and a stern reprimand (also rightfully so) from the beautiful princess that I shouldn't throw knives - plastic or not, and at that point I determined that the kitchen that greeted me with peace and tranquility 30 minutes earlier was no longer the same kitchen I was currently standing in. I picked up my plate and retreated to my room where I finally enjoyed a nice peaceful plate of celery and peanut butter.
After I had some time to calm down I realized there must have been something I was supposed to learn from that experience. It made me wonder how often we might seemingly coincidentally come across something in life (two celery sticks) that appear fortuitous and just what we need at that moment, but really it is God that has placed it there without us even knowing. It made me realize that sometimes in moments like that I should try and recognize all the celery, knives, plates, and peanut butter that happen to show up and try to be a little more grateful when those moments occur.
I also realized the incredible amount patience God must have with us. I just hope that one day I have as much patience.