Last weekend my family was out to dinner at Fletcher’s on Lake Minnetonka. There was no special occasion other than the fact that my Dad is a “Groupon” pro and had managed to wrangle two free walleye dinners! The seven of us were crammed into a booth in the upscale upstairs fancy part of the restaurant. It was me, my parents, my brother, my sisterin- law, my niece Tilly and nephew Wren. Now granted Tilly is not yet two, and my nephew Wren is only three months old, but it was still tight! Tilly in a high chair, Wren laying on the booth bench seat, and the rest of somehow poured into the way to small rest of the space.
It was a beautiful night. The sun was setting in the large framed windows just beyond on booth. The tan dry cattail reeds were glowing red in the light of a setting sun. Birds flitted here and there in the trees. The ice was melting, the grass warming, the deck looked almost inviting. Closer, the table next to us had a young family: Mom, Dad, and two kids.
Closer still Tilly was suddenly out of her chair and trying to make friends with the two kids. Their daughter was four, their son, eighteen months. The four year old had accidently pushed her whole plate of food onto the floor with a huge crash. Now she was crying. Tilly was trying to console her new friend by pulling the “soothie” out of her own mouth and offering it to the four year old! Wren, in the mean time was lying next to me on the booth bench seat and in the ruckus, had managed to spit-up all over himself and my pants! Which is about when it hit me. Everything was normal. I wasn’t worrying about my Dad, who’s recovering still from his stroke and continues to make improvements. I wasn’t worrying about my recently pregnant sister-in-law and the stress of birth. I wasn’t really worrying about anything. I was in fact quite calm and content. Grateful even for this normal moment: free walleye being half eaten while kids cry and spit-up, setting spring sun, birds flitting and plates being broken. Frankly, it was great.
I was grateful for normal. I was thankful for the daily moment of being.
Nothing profound was happening, nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing unusual. And yet, I was grateful and peace-filled and thankful for the normal chaos erupting all around me. Sometimes normal is good. I’m even grateful for noticing the grace-filled normal. God’s love isn’t always spectacular. Sometimes it’s plain and simple, earthy and boring. Sometimes God’s love spits up on your pants, breaks plates, offers you a “soothe” and brings you a free walleye dinner in a booth that’s way to small. Sometimes God’s love comes as gratitude for normal. Nice.
Thanks be to God!