I was working on a grocery list this morning and I thought: “It never fails. No sooner do I finish this list and get the groceries, when I discover we need something else.” That list, by the way, is a sheet of paper based on a template of the general listings for each aisle matching the listings at the end of the aisles at Wegmans. It was Karen’s idea as a way to save time: it was truly brilliant! And so it goes…we write things down on our grocery list…I go and buy the groceries, bring them home and, as I’m putting things away, I discover something else that should have been on the list. It never fails. “The grocery shopping is never done,” I say out loud. Karen likes to remind me: “It’s sort of like the laundry.”
So, this morning as I’m working on my list, I start to scour the cupboards and refrigerator to see if, just once, I could get home, put everything away, and find that everything I needed was on that list, at least for a few days, before I need to start another one. And then I thought: “Maybe I need to think more positively about this reality in my life. Maybe instead of thinking that grocery shopping is ‘never done’ I could just accept and rejoice that it is a constant and consistent thing. Why does such a simple thing need to be such a big thing?” Well, I’m working on that.
Then I take a break from the list to take Rylie out for a walk and, whoa, I catch my breath when I open the door. It’s 46 degrees and there’s more than a little crispness in the air and my mind starts racing: “Wow! Where did this come from? Where did the summer go? It’s September already? Fall is surely on its way…and then the snow will start…and the shoveling…and people will start complaining about both those things…I will start complaining about those things…how dark it is in the morning and how I really don’t like to get up and go out in the cold and shovel snow first thing…in the dark…and oh, my goodness, I have to finish my sermon and write a newsletter article…constantly!” (I told you my mind was racing!)
Then I came back to my grocery list issue and I thought: “This is just another example of a constant in life. Seasons come, seasons go…temperatures rise, temperatures fall. School starts, school ends…sunshine and rain, snow on snow on snow…and on and on.” Some lines came to mind from when I played the role of Macbeth in college:
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
Oh…my goodness! Is it REALLY that bad? And I got here, all because of a silly grocery list? So much for my attempt at thinking positively.
For Pete’s sake. Suck it up, Bob, and embrace it! Embrace and rejoice in the reality of the constant and consistent things in life!”
Finally, my racing mind came to that one line in the Bible where the apostle Paul says: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13.8)
Hmmm. Maybe the constancies and the consistencies in life can lead me to his reality. I mean, what a cool thing it would be if grocery shopping…or the constant change of the seasons… and the consistencies in life, might be able to remind me of the constancy of Jesus’ presence in my life and his consistently good care of me…and you. Yeah…it would be a cool thing.
So…let me get back to my grocery list…but I’ll do it with a knowing smile!
See you in church.
With love, Pastor Bob