When we moved into Feodora, the first real problem that needed dealing with actually was not the incessant traffic noise or my fear of allowing the kids in the front yard next to all that traffic (3 years in and I finally let them out front on their own this year. I am a hick). It wasn’t the interesting “drain field” situation that causes my sinks and showers to gurgle every time we get a hearty rain in the spring or fall (good thing we are in the Seattle area, so it’s not like precipitation is a thing…). It wasn’t the oddity of having my washing machine in the garage (gross) or even the challenge of driving distance to church (it’s all highway. Amateur hour). No, the problem that required attention was the pantry.
Or I presume that was the life dream behind the tall, narrow cupboard at the edge of the kitchen. I wonder if housewives in the 50’s, the era from whence my home was born, actually had significantly longer arms than we do today. The cupboards, from an evolutionary standpoint (snort) would indicate so. Or maybe they used to have cabana boys and grease men to send back into the depths of these cavernous storage spaces when they needed a package of instant rice hauled out for lunch. Either way, I have neither, and apparently my arms are abnormally short (I cannot be the only one who thinks of a dozen jokes to make here, can I? Go ahead. It’ll give you an endorphin boost), so figuring out where to store pantry goods has been a challenge.
It is not a challenge I have met with any particular grace. I have erected stray, stand-alone bookshelves and weighed them down with flour and flours and unusual flours and molasses and who knows what, but all out in the open so that if anyone came to my house, trying to believe that I was a perfectionist or had an organized mind, they would be disabused of the notion within about 1.5 steps into my dining room, which, incidentally, is where the flour lives. Along with some other things.
But that is not all, oh no, that is not all. Then there is the funky rolling metal cart, painted a cheerful shade of heavily chipped butter yellow, dating back very likely to the 60’s, which I have tucked beneath the high bar at the edge of the kitchen. Here lies a basket of bready things, a toaster, an old wooden shelf with a brass knob used as a tray, some vintage milk bottles in a tin carrier that I couldn’t resist and cannot honestly find a non-decorative way to use, and summary goodies that have been pushed towards the back, on the floor, at the base of the shelves. And that is what leads us to today.
Because last Easter, I got to host my family and friends for the first (and who are we kidding, probably last) time ever and to kick off the festivities, the night before Easter we gathered for a meal of candy. And it turns out, if 30 people all bring candy, not only will your eyeballs shake uncontrollably for hours, you will also end up with leftovers, which is how I happen to have a Costco-sized, half-eaten container of Easter MnM’s shoved beneath my makeshift pantry. Don’t judge me — I forgot about them. You would too if you had seen that candy spread.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Until I took to doing daily Pilates with the Moving Mango lady on YouTube with the adorable accent. And as I was flattened on my unusual smelling carpet, I was struck with 2 realizations.
- Dude, there are MnM’s, like, right in front of me. Why am I doing Pilates?
- Hannah of the Moving Mango has a genuinely fascinating way of counting reps, which I fall for every time.
And I believe these 2 facts are closely related to the way we are to view suffering in this life as we strive forward in Christ towards glory, towards that moment when everything will be set right. Hannah of the Mango, with each new ab-burning “challenge” will say, in her uber-cute-and-peaceful voice, “Now, we are going to do this combo… a couple of times.” Then we proceed to do it maybe 10, 20, or 100 times. And you keep going, sweat dripping nastily everywhere, which probably at least partly explains my gross smelling carpet, because you assume each movement will be the final one. Just a little while, and we’ll be done! The MnM’s are only a couple of moves away!
And that is how we are encouraged in Scripture. Peter, at the end of his first letter, says in a way that feels almost as nonchalant as a smiling, non-sweaty Pilates instructor, “after you suffer a little while, if need be…” And he is writing to people who, we would probably argue, were already suffering. And it was going to get worse. Yet, he exhorts them, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, not to be surprised or dismayed, not to despair or give up, because after just a little suffering, Christ will establish them, settle everything that has been unsettled, heal every pain. The sufferings, no matter how great, will feel like less than stubbing your toe compared to the glory He is preparing for you, that you do not earn or accomplish — it is His gift to His beloved. You.
We are going to do this… this challenge (insert yours today)… just a couple more times. And then it will end. The MnM’s are closer than you think.