The Case Of The Chair – Not There?

It was only last week that my mother and I had been in a store that sold curtains, sheet sets, and furniture.  As we walked around the store and through the furniture section, my mother saw a reclining swivel chair with footstool.  She sits in it.  I hear a “aaaaaaaah” sound of delight.  “This is so comfortable,” she says.  She gets up and we continue to walk about the store; then we leave.

Yesterday we were back in the store meandering about when we again walked through the furniture section.  There was the chair, only this time it was on sale!  A third off!  We were delighted and decided to purchase the chair.

It took a while to find any personnel.  I walked around as did my mother but we could find no one.  Finally I went to the check out counter and asked if help could be called.  The young girl replies, “There should be someone on the floor.”  I can feel my frustration rising at this obvious statement.  “I agree,” I reply, “but there isn’t, which is why I’m asking you to please call someone.”  I feel my face stretch into a smile which I know is fake because inside an irritation is beginning to occur.  I remind myself to calm down.  Someone will come and all will be well.

I return to the furniture section to wait with my mother, and sure enough, someone comes to help us —  or so I thought.  I tell the sales clerk that we like this chair and want to buy it.  I add that we would need it delivered.  “Of course,” the young girl assures us with a smile.  She sits down with an iPad and begins typing.  “Hmmm,” she hums, “I don’t seem to find it in the system.  I need the exact name of the chair.”  She excuses herself to go and find the name when I announce, “Here’s the name on the tag.”  She glances, smiles, says, “Oh, yeah.”  We all chuckle and she continues typing on her iPad.  “I just need to go and consult with my colleague.  The name isn’t registered.”  It was then I glanced at her iPad and see the misspelling of the type of chair.  “It’s not spelled correctly,” I say, “would that make a difference?”  She chuckles and retypes.  I see a photo of the chair appear on the screen.  I sigh in relief and relax as I feel we are getting somewhere.  I was wrong.  “I’ll be right back,” she says.  “I just need to check something.” She leaves.

My mother is sitting in the chair to be purchased.  “This sure is comfortable,” she says.  I feel happy that we will soon be getting this chair.

The young girl returns.  “I’m so sorry,” she begins, while wearing a great big smile on her face as if she isn’t actually sorry; she’s elated.  Must be the training I think to myself.  She then explains, “We can’t deliver the chair because we no longer have them.”  “Pardon?”  I hear myself ask.  She repeats her statement with the same smile of elation stretched to its fullest.  It was at this point that the frustration I had felt earlier was suddenly full blown aggravation.

At such moments do you ever begin to envision a scenario in your mind?  I do and at that moment of rising anger, my mind starts to think about the Flintstones.  It’s Bam-Bam with his amazing strength.  He takes rogue dinosaurs by the tail and bad guys by the hair of the head and wham wham fwap fwap they are being banged from one side to the other by Bam-Bam.  I want to stress at this point that I absolutely did not grab her ponytail and do the same.  My arm twitched with desire but I did not do it!

I want to further emphasize that I refrained from sarcasm, perhaps saying something like, “Hon, if you come here and carefully stretch out your hand and touch this object, guess what?  It’s the chair!”  I didn’t say it although the visions of Bam-Bam still danced in my head.   It was my mother who uttered with some astonishment, “What do you mean you don’t have it?  I’m sitting in it.  Here it is.”  She is standing now and pointing to the chair.

“Oh,” the girl laughs, “no let me explain.  When we place an order it comes from the warehouse.  They don’t have anymore.”  I ask if the store can deliver.  No we are told, the store can’t deliver.  We can have the chair if we take it ourselves.  We then leave because, of course, neither my mother nor I can heave ho the chair onto our backs.  Neither could we ram it into my little car.

All the way home I feel fury boiling inside.  All peace is shattered.  Pictures in my mind of Bam-Bam have fully taken over.  My arm tingles with the delicious sensation of wham wham wham!  Did I pray about this aggravation?  No.  I admit it never occurred to me; I was consumed with agro!

Back at home while my mother puts the kettle on I turn on my laptop and go to Amazon.  After typing the name of the chair and clicking, the chair appears.  I stare in unbelief.  There it is — half the price plus free delivery!  I start to laugh and call my mother.  We order the chair.  It is promised be with us on Tuesday.

I sit and contemplate the Lord’s care of us even when we don’t know it; even through visions of Bam-Bam whamming.  Even in the seemingly insignificant, in spite of personal rising frustrations, blessings are coming.  I thank Him that His eyes are ever watching over, always blessing; and I think too, God must have been laughing also with the action of The Flintstones playing out in my mind.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  James 1:17 


It Started With A Peppermint

Today was a day for running errands; lots of errands, things that just couldn’t wait any longer.  My mother and I set off and began fulfilling the things on our to-do list.  One of our errands included a time of waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more!  Groan!  Would the waiting ever end?  Others were waiting, too.  It was a room filled with boredom, frustration, and growing tension.  Don’t you hate waiting and waiting with no apparent end in sight?

I was sitting on one side of my mother and a young man sat on her other side.  All seats everywhere were filled.  At one point my mother asks me for a mint.  I fish around in my handbag and retrieve a small wrapped peppermint.  She takes it and I pay no further attention.  I don’t see that the wrapper is difficult to open until I hear a voice say, “may I open that for you?”  It was the young man.

I leaned forward and watched as he quickly snapped open the wrapper and handed it back to my Mom.  “I didn’t touch it,” he said, “I’m holding it with the wrapper.

“Yes, I see you are,” answers my mother, “thank you so much.”

“It’s the little things that can be tough,” he said.

From that moment he and my mother began a conversation filled with chuckles and smiles.  Just listening to them made me smile, too.  I glanced at others sitting nearby.  They were caught up in the conversation and grinning at their lighthearted chatter.  There was definitely a lessening of stress in the air and it all started with the simple kindness of opening a peppermint wrapper.

Is kindness that important?  God says something about kindness in Ephesians 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God though Christ has forgiven you.”

There is nothing in God’s Word that is insignificant.  It’s all equally important.  Therefore, when we have opportunity to obey God’s instruction to simply be kind to someone, we are honoring both God and our fellow man.  One simple kindness blessed, not only my mother, but everyone who could hear the ensuing conversation.  Many people,  who at first appeared as if boredom could be the end of them, were uplifted.  One by one as someone would leave, they would wave, wish everyone well, and we all happily waved and smiled in return.  It turned out to be a lovely afternoon.

There are many things that each of us cannot do, but all of us can “be kind to each other.”  We don’t know what’s going on in someones life, but it might be that a simple kindness could be the difference between hope and despair.  Kindness is never insignificant.

In the Boathouse

I love driving through the countryside of southeast Alabama.  It’s a land of gentle, rolling hills, and vast fields — this time of year either white with cotton, or being home to cattle grazing.  Rivers run through the land, and fish-filled lakes and ponds are numerous.

It was a particular lake that caught my attention this week.  The weather forecast on the radio warned of possible, icy rains, winds, and a drop in temperature below freezing.  The very sound of it all made me want to get home quick, make some hot chocolate, and watch the weather from the cozy warmth of my mother’s home where I am enjoying the holidays with her.

I noticed a small lake in the distance.  A dock went out across the water about thirty feet.  At the end of the dock there was a boathouse.  As I drove by, glancing at the lake and the dock, I could see that a boat was secured in the boathouse.  Good, I thought to myself, no boat needs to be out on the water in this weather.  It was at that precise moment that Psalm 46:1 popped into my mind:

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”

As we go through life, we’re like boats sailing on the sea of life.  Sometimes the weather permits smooth sailing but at other times we need to put our boat in shelter; we need protection in rough water.  We need a covering.  It’s clear what we need to do, so why do we fail to put our boat in safety?

What do we do when stresses of life rock our boat?  Do we simply stare at the darkening skies, speculating with dread at what the storm will bring? Do we cling with all our might to the sides of the boat, fearful, lest we fall overboard?  Sadly, we must all answer, that at times, yes, we ignore the boathouse that is staring us in the face, and we go it alone.  We’re exhausted in our stress, but stubbornly, we hang on in our own strength, which only adds to our already weary mind and body.

Our life’s guidebook, God’s own Word, clearly tells us that He is our refuge; He is our strength.  The very moment that stresses of life cause our boat to roll and pitch with uncertainty, weariness, and dread — that’s the moment we need to row toward the boathouse.  Almighty God Himself is our shelter in any storm.  He is our strength in all weather.

We don’t have to rock back and forth, wondering if we will drown — we have a boathouse.  Jesus reminded his disciples of this when he said to them in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”   Jesus loves being your boathouse.  Won’t you let Him shelter you in the storm?