Pancakes for Supper

There’s a lot of hurting and pain in the world.  Just in case you weren’t already aware.  And sometimes people respond to that hurt and pain with a whole lot of anger and pointing fingers and insisting that people who are speaking against what they believe need to be condemned.  They point at them and vent their anger in an effort to…..

fix it?

Ummm, okay, I think they might be going at it all wrong.

I read this article that I’ve thought about today–“It’s Okay to Eat Lucky Charms for Dinner.”  I really like what Alice Seuffert had to say.  Sometimes when the news is more than her heart can bear, she brings home Lucky Charms to have for supper.

And so that’s how I found myself making pancakes for the crew tonight.  It was a good day really.  A swim meet where our Princess did her best and had a great time and actually surpassed her personal bests in all her events.  The smile on her tired face when it was over said it all.

Despite the joy of today, what has weighed heavily on my heart is the dream I woke up from in the dark just before dawn.  It was a hard one.  My family and I were on some kind of trip, in a place where we’d never been before.  We were on some kind of open air trolley, and suddenly it stopped.  People started running, so of course we got the children off the trolley and ran…..away.  Away from people yelling and the gunshots that followed.  Young men in their teens were running around with guns shooting everywhere.  In our terror, we ran toward some trailers that resembled my first and second grade classrooms. We ran behind some for protection and found another one.  Outside of it was a comforting soul, a woman whose presence was soothing and reassuring.  She looked a lot like the priest I met at the vigil on Monday night.  She pointed toward the door on the porch of the trailer.  She told us to get in quickly, and then she was gone.  We moved quickly up the steps and towards the door as I saw out of the corner of my eye a woman with dark hair standing quietly and alone on the other corner of the porch.  Once inside, we breathed deeply and with relief.  I looked around and immediately my children were relaxed alongside others. Right behind us, the woman with the dark hair came in quietly behind us and closed the door. I started to worry, and then two things occurred to me.  The first was that in my other-conscious state (you know, the part of you that knows it is a dream–that happens when I’m about to come out of one), I knew she looked very much like a woman who has been in the news a lot this past week.  A woman whose sentencing hearing has caused a lot of anger and finger pointing and hurt.  Before I could be afraid, I was offered peace and I took it.  Suddenly I just knew we were all safe, and that it wasn’t for me to keep her out of this place where we could find peace and safety and comfort.  It wasn’t for me to lock the door and keep her out.

Just the opposite in fact.  Because we hadn’t locked it, she was able to find her way in herself.

As I woke up, rather shaken after such a dream, I sat in the darkness and waited for my heart to settle.  I wondered if I should write it all down so I wouldn’t forget.  I thought back over the events in the dream, and my mind replayed the moment she entered the room, one who has done wrong and been found guilty and so many are vilifying to the point of wanting to see her die–that moment when it was as if the words were whispered in the air, “It’s not for you to keep her out.”

Yeah.  It was with those words and thoughts on my heart, and wondering if I’m going to be able to live those words out in my own real life, that I went through my day.  Life is hard, y’all.  But I’m guessing you know that.  I’m guessing you could tell me some stories about how hard it is.  Whether it makes sense or not, it is easier for me to forgive someone whose story I hear than it is for me to forgive someone whose actions have crossed my own story and changed its course.  Even when the former one’s actions are far more damaging and permanent and violent than the latter.

I know.  It doesn’t make sense, but there it is.

The much used page from my Aunt Bee's Mayberry Cookbook by Ken Beck.  I was going to post a picture of the pancakes, but I was to late because, well, pancakes.

The much used page from my Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook by Ken Beck. I was going to post a picture of the pancakes, but I was too late because, well, pancakes.

So in all of those thoughts, I thought about the Lucky Charms as comfort food, and since I was too–I’ll just say it–lazy to go to the store this afternoon, I made pancakes.  Goober’s Pancakes 57 from Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook.  They are legendary in our house.  Not because they’re phenomenal or anything, but because my crew knows Goober’s story.

I’m glad they know his story.  All too soon the other stories will find them.  The dark ones.  The ones that will cause them to struggle with what they thought they knew, with all the grey of right and wrong and everything in between.  The ones that will challenge them to be forgiving and loving and leave the judging up to only One.  For now, the stories that make us smile and laugh and feel like home are just fine.

May you all have someone to eat pancakes or Lucky Charms with and to bring you comfort when the darkness threatens to envelop you.

Love to all.

 

 

********You can get your own copy of Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook by clicking on the title above.  Even if you never cook, you will enjoy reading it.  There’s even a recipe for her Kerosene Pickles!  

The Tour Guide

I woke to his little hand patting me on my back.

“Mama,” he whispered loudly.  “Mama!”

I rolled over.  “What is it, baby?”  It was my seven-year old little fella, Cooter.

“I had a bad dream.”  He climbed up beside me.

I wrapped him up in a big hug.  “It’s okay.  Mama’s got you.  Nothing bad is here.  You’re okay.”

He took a deep breath, sighed, and fell back to sleep almost instantly.

As I listened to his gentle breathing, I wondered–where does a seven-year old get the material to have a bad dream from?  What has happened in his world that could disturb his thoughts enough that he would have bad dreams?

I honestly feel like a tour guide whose tourist has said, “Oh, you know what, I really don’t care for this place you’ve chosen to take us.  The food here really stinks, and the rooms aren’t comfortable, and I am not enjoying myself.  At.  All.”

I mean, I’m leading my little guy on this journey, teaching him, pointing out cool things to see and think about, listening to his questions and trying to answer as best I can, and somewhere, somehow something slipped into his little mind that upset his equilibrium.   And gave him bad dreams.

On my watch.

Just stamp “Failed” on my forehead and put my picture up on a wall labelled “Bad Parents.”

*sigh*

Bless him.  He sure fell back to sleep fast.

But not me.

I wondered if he had dreamed about them taking his cup at the pizza place.  Last night was Guy’s Night Supper, and he and his Daddy had gone to the pizza buffet place to eat.  (The place where he could eat free for the first three years of his life–I am sure they lost money on that deal.)  He ate and ate and of course had to visit the little boys’ room.  His Daddy took him and when they came back, their drinks and plates were gone.

Poor thing.  He was devastated.  He said it was the worst night ever.  (Yes sometimes he has a little bit of the drama in him.)  I expect it had a lot to do with the fact that he loves a coke (all kinds) and since we only rarely have it at home, he intended to get his fill last night.  But then…..cup gone.  Meal over.  Done.

He was all kinds of sad and mad all rolled into one.

Or was it something more serious?  A few days ago we were in the Gomobile, and Cooter was sitting in the very back.  He was looking at his Bible, the one his Sunday night group uses.

“The end of the Bible doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Oh me.  All I could think of is how am I going to have a conversation with my seven-year old about the Book of Revelation when I don’t even understand it myself?

I swallowed hard and braced myself.  “What part in particular, buddy?”

“Well this part about Paul.”  Paul? Okay, good.  I can do Paul.  I think.  “He was in jail, right?  And he loved God, right?”

“Ummm, yes and yes.  You’re right.  Go on.”

“Well he was in jail for telling the people about God, right?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“But Mama, couldn’t God have gotten him out of jail at any time?  I mean, he was telling people about God and Jesus.  Wasn’t that what he was supposed to do?”

Oh my stars.  I was quiet for a moment, taking it all in.  Ummm, could we talk about Revelation now?

I waited too long I guess, because then he asked, “Mama, didn’t Paul die in jail?”

Last night I lay there thinking of all the things I could have said, things I wish I had said, worrying that my limited biblical and religious knowledge is not going to be enough in raising this one.  He thinks a lot and asks a lot of questions.  And they’re not all about when do I think Star Wars VII will come out.

I convinced myself his bad dream stemmed from my lack of comforting answers.  Or at least ones that could give him some peace, some hope.

It was with a tired mind and a weary soul that I awoke this morning.  My little guy crawled out of bed and started getting himself ready for the day.

“You had a bad dream last night, do you remember?”

He shook his head.  “No I didn’t.”

“Well, you said you did.”  I was confused.  Didn’t he?

“Oh wait, yeah, I did.”

I asked him if he wanted to talk about it.  At first he shook his head no.  Then–

“So I was about to eat my lunch and I had a lunch box and then all these ninjas came up and tried to take my lunch and then Shaker [his cousin] came up and started fighting the Ninjas and I helped him and so then it was all okay and we sat down and lunch was good.”

Y’all.  Oh bless it.

And him.

And my exhausted mind.

Ninjas.

Well he could have picked that up anywhere.  A Magic Treehouse book.  One of his sister’s favorite shows.  The history book he likes to look at.  Any of those places.  None of which have very much at all to do with me.

*sigh*  Maybe I haven’t failed him as much as I thought.

Although this boy might be the reason I finally wind up at seminary twenty-four years after walking away from the opportunity.  I have a feeling I’m going to need all the help I can get when it comes to discussing his thoughts on theology and trying to answer all of these questions.  I’m starting to wonder if maybe he’s the one leading me on this journey; if he’s actually the tour guide, showing me all there is to see.

Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

Love and sweet dreams to all.