• Blueberries
  • Toilet paper
  • Ex-lax
  • Some wine
  • Red onion
  • Starlight mints
  • Prune juice
  • Cucumber

This is the most recent grocery list I was sent to shop for on behalf of my grandparents.  Shopping for the elderly is not only a life experience, it is also an education. At 27, I not only know what incontinence is, but where the aisle is located in every grocery store in south Charlotte and have a familiarity with the full spectrum of inventory stored on those lengthy shelves. Sufficed to say, I use the self check-out kiosk.

A list like that always begs a few questions/ clarifications. Without fail, the ever descriptive line item “some wine” shows up.

“What kind of wine would you like, Poppy?”

“….Hmm…how about a fine Rhine?”

“[pause]…I don’t think there is such a thing, plus, I think a box of wine might be heavy for you to lift.”

That wine, always served in a juice glass (with an occasional ice cube), is one of my favorite quirks. Since I’ve a lifetime of dining with them on special occasions, the presence of the “chilled Rhine” coupled with a very loud throat clear is indication that a lengthy prayer, spoken in Old King James, is about to shake the heavens.  “Sovereign Lord, we beseech thee…” followed by a mix of “thou art‘s” “thine‘s” and some mention of “the propitiation for our sin.” Woe unto any man who dares look at his watch during one of these prayers. And on the rare occasion you should be the chosen one to offer the prayer, mentally prepare for the firestorm of “yes, Jesus…Amen…Aaaaamen….thou art worthy, Lord Jesus” and general grunts of agreement with even the second rate prayer you are delivering. Twice I’ve been selected, twice I’ve failed into a pool of laughter, cracked under pressure.

My Grandma? All of the above, only in a whisper. With the final “Amen” she finds her full voice and passes the rolls while mentioning that my brother in law resembles an Ethiopian distance runner and then regales us all with a tale of prescribed stool softener or how Suze Orman said the gold market is better than ever and the gold bars that she bought us are now worth .005% more than 3 years ago.

These precious, loving Grandparents can no longer care for themselves and are moving to an assisted living facility today. Resembling something like a telegram, they sent the following email to their family and friends via their WebTV.

GOD BLESSYOU ALL                                           

God loves for us to be content with such as we have.  This statement from an 84 year old gentle, loving man is so simple, but so sincere. They have no health left. While they are not financially strapped, sorting through their things you notice they have very little of value. They are being uprooted from the comfort of what they know and surrendering the pride of independence. Change, discomfort, dwindling savings, few relationships and…contentment.

This resonated with me so much over the past week that I had to reflect on it for awhile. As a type-A go-getter this past year has been very difficult to sit still through. When plan A doesn’t work out,  no big deal. Regroup, move on to plan B. Scrappy, resourceful and ambitious. I’m currently on plan T and no amount of hard work has changed the fact that this year tangibly looks exactly like last.  I’m starting to realize – kicking and screaming – that perhaps the Lord has something like contentment to teach me, a lesson that even healthy amounts of ambition and chasing excitement get in the way of.

There is big faith packed into this tiny statement. Jim and Shirley McClure know that we serve a God who is charge. We are not at the mercy of chance. God knows our needs, meets every one of them as the Ultimate Provider and blesses his children abundantly. What we have is exactly what we need whether we think so or not.

I’m blessed, in every area of my life. Why in the world am I trying so hard to shake off His current blessing to go looking for a different one?  Why am I so easily convinced that my prayer and hard work is going unheard, unrewarded when right here, right now, every need is met by a great, merciful God who continues to bless even in spite of my consistent ungratefulness?

Perspective. I’m not only content with such as I have, but rejoicing in today’s provision rather than looking ahead for tomorrows blessing.  

Poppy, “my cup runneth over.” Let’s toast with a fine Rhine.

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