Do you know the best thing about turning thirty-one? You spent so much emotion on the trauma of turning thirty, you just don’t have the energy to feel bad about age again. Thirty-one is quiet and uneventful, like an afternoon rain that comes and goes before it’s noticed.
Like a little daisy sprouting up after that rain, Phil bought me a Kindle for my thirty-first birthday. It was unexpected—we aren’t big gift givers. At first I was hesitant. I suspected he purchased it for financial advantages: the Kindle downloads could prove less expensive then the library fines I tend to rack up (when we moved from Indiana two years ago, Phil pointed to the town’s under-construction-library and remarked the project would probably come to a standstill since the funding was being pulled). I was also skeptical about reading from an electronic screen. There would be no paper and ink smell, no chocolaty fingerprints from the last reader, no sound of the page as it turns. What a surprise! I love that little device with its slender, gray cover. It is by far the one of the best gifts I have been given.
When we moved to South Carolina, I was determined to have a new couch. Our old “corduroy gold boat” was left in our rental in Indiana, so we were couchless. However, after a little shopping and the shock of the huge retail price tags, I baulked and ended up buying a used microfiber off craigslist. It was nice, but wasn’t really what I wanted. A few days after the purchase, my boys ran into the kitchen to tell me a water bottle spilled on the couch.
“Okay,” I sighed, “It’s just water. I’ll soak it up.”
“Actually,” said my four-year-old matter-of-factly, “It’s pickle juice.”
Later that evening, we snuggled up on the (slightly dill smelling) couch to watch the movie The Prince of Egypt. We ate popcorn, and I suddenly felt grateful for our second hand couch. If it was new, I would be way too uptight to let the kids eat on it. The pickle-juice-fiasco would have put me over the edge. With a used couch, I just half-laughed and cleaned it up.
Kindles and pickles. They got me to think about how things that are unexpected or don’t happen quite as planned often end up being the sweetest things in life. So often what I think I want is near-sighted. But I have a God who sees the big picture. Often if I rest in Him and His sovereignty, He shows me a glimpse of what I couldn’t see close up. In big and little things.