Monday, February 23, 2009

Bologna sandwiches

A week of summer in the middle of dreary winter, that's what Beve and I (and our best friends) had last week.  Every day sunny and 85 degrees, white sand, blue water, sleeping late, eating lots.  It was amazing. In fact, we ate so much guacamole and pico de gallo (chunky salsa to us Americans) we decided we need a moratorium before we even look another corn tortilla chip--it was everything the doctor ordered.  We came home rested, rejuvenated and maybe even sunburned.  The first day there, I might have sat in the pool reading a little long, I might have slathered sunscreen over every inch of my body except my back, I might have gotten the worst (only?!!) sunburn of my life on said back.  And definitely paid the price--part of reentry means I'm peeling and itchy.  No wonder people don't like sunburns (not to mention that whole cancer thing!).

Yes, it was a great week. My natural habitat is definitely water.  Three pools, the Caribbean, a dipping/cooling pool right on our balcony--truly luxurious. Devoured six books, which is my very favorite way of relaxing.  Watched Beve and J climb a Mayan pyramid (which is definitely more relaxing than climbing it myself in the 90 degree sun).  Rode around an island in a convertible VW bug. All in all, it made me think of the analogy I read many, many years ago in Bob Benson's book, Come Share the Being, about being invited to a potluck picnic.  Having nothing to take but a couple of stale slices of bread with one lonely piece of bologna slapped between, a squirt of mustard the only condiment, we pull up to this outdoor feast, where a table is covered with every kind of food imaginable--fried chicken, mashed potatoes, 14 kinds of salad, 27 different desserts.  We stand awkwardly, thinking we can't possibly partake of such a banquet given what we have in the old paper sack in our hands.  But we're handed a plate, a fork and spoon is placed in our fingers, and we're welcomed.  We bring our little pittance and we're given abundance in return.

That's exactly what such a vacation felt like.  Beve and I took our pittance, took our old suits, last summer's clothes, our ratty beach towels, and we were treated like royalty.  Our friends lavished us in ways so profound and humbling, we'll never be able to express our gratitude.  The resort, with its fragrant air, and lush garden, was a little slice of paradise, and the people who waited on us, shuttled us, visited with us, made us simply glad to be part of the human family.  Our bologna sandwich exchanged for a buffet set for a king (We really did eat a royal buffet the first night at about 9:30 pm, when we hadn't eaten since a pastry in Seattle before we flew off.  We were so hungry we didn't even talk to each other at dinner, and Beve, who can really put it away, went back about 4 times!). Truly, it was the most wonderful week.

Am I gushing?

It's a privilege of our lives that we get to experience such vacations. And we don't take them for granted.  And we also don't take for granted that the Kingdom of God is a great banquet, that God takes our pitiful sandwiches and tells us how much He loves bologna, that He lavishes us with His abundance.

The trick for me today, back in the rainy northwest, is to be just as aware, just as grateful for the feast He sets before me in the daily ordinariness of my life.

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