I recently came to the startling realization that my sock drawer does not fill itself. I know that’s shocking, but it’s true. And not only that; just because there are checks in the check book, doesn’t mean there’s money in there. No, I’m serious. Somebody must be putting stuff in there when I’m not looking. Maybe at night, when I’m sleeping, the refrigerator fills itself. Hazel does the laundry and the leprechauns sweep the walkway and weed the garden before dawn.
Do all these things magically happen around your house too? I hope so.
Seriously, I trust that you thank your spouse for doing them, or that you race to be the one to do them first. In any case, it’s a lot of work just to carry on a normal life. Have you noticed that work is so much more fulfilling and easy to do when we are appreciated for doing it? A simple but important way we can serve our spouse is to express our appreciation to them for doing what they do. That’s right, actually saying it. Guaranteed to put a smile on their face and a song in their heart.
Have you ever had one of those days when it is just hard to get up and do it all again? We can be our spouse’s best cheerleader. We don’t have to break out the pompoms, but a little encouragement goes a long way. When you hear geese flying south for the winter, all that honking you hear is the flock encouraging their leader. The same with sled dogs; pulling a sled in the Iditarod is hard work but all that barking is the team telling the lead dog, “We’re with you!”
“Please pass the salt.” “Thank you for washing the car.” “This meal is delicious.” These are phrases that I hope are used regularly in your home. Common courtesy has become rather uncommon in our culture today. Miss Manners used to be a popular syndicated column. Good manners make good relationships. I kind of miss manners, don’t you? I believe we need to reintroduce them to our families, in our own homes, beginning with our spouse. Our children will emulate what they see mom and dad practicing. Then with God’s help we will infect the neighbors, and gratitude could become a worldwide epidemic. “Please” and “Thank you”…they could change your world.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col 2:6-7
“Let’s meet for coffee.” We say this all the time, but is it really about the coffee? When you go to lunch with your best friend, which is more important, the food or the conversation? It doesn’t really matter if it’s McNamara’s or McDonalds, coffee or cabernet; something important happens in our relationships when we’re eating and drinking.
What could be more basic to everyday life than enjoying a meal together? Yet we keep ourselves so busy that sit-down dinners are no longer a family value but instead have become nostalgic. Many people today, spend thousands of dollars upgrading to gourmet kitchens, only to make the microwave the most used appliance. The dining room table has been relegated to folding laundry and Thanksgiving dinner.
Growing up, I always envied my friends who got to eat dinner in their living room on TV trays. Now I’m reconsidering. I grew up in a big Italian family. When dinnertime came, the whole family gathered for the meal and the TV was always turned off. Thanks Mom and Dad, for making sit-down dinners a family value. Our nuclear family has grown and changed, but to this day, here’s how family gatherings on holidays work: We start with a meal, clean up after the meal together, take a walk together. Throw in some Italian songs and dancing in the kitchen while we prepare the next meal together. Repeat.
Jesus knows we open up to one another in a unique way when we break bread together.
He said “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev 3:20) In the final hours before His crucifixion, Jesus had a meal with his friends, we call the last supper. It is interesting that after his resurrection, almost every time we see Jesus, he is eating with his friends.
When Andee and I got married, we decided in order to stay connected; we’d have breakfast and dinner together. At 6:00AM we ask each other, “How can I pray for you today?” And at 6:00PM we catch up with one another on how the other’s day went. We’d rarely see each other in between those times, but we were still “together”. As we raised our children, mealtimes were always the important touch-points when our family would connect. We’d discuss everything from schoolwork to politics, to interpersonal relationships. We often read a devotional book after dinner and discussed whatever lesson we could draw out of a chapter. Whenever we had company, they’d join in the conversation. Andee and I have maintained this practice for 30 years through all the different stages of life, and it is still working.
Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. Psalm 128:1-4