Doug and I went to out for dinner this past weekend to celebrate his birthday. I spent some time alone at our table and rather than whip out my phone and check Facebook or my email, I took those few moments to look around and observe the people sitting near me.
I watched two interactions that looked similar. A lady at the table to my right had ordered a salad and the waiter had come over to offer her fresh ground pepper. I watched as he slowly sprinkled the spice over her plate and quite quickly saw her hold up her hand and smile saying, “Thank you, that’s enough.”
Almost at the same time, a gentleman just beyond her was having parmesan cheese freshly grated over his pasta. He too was allowed to tell the waitress when she had given him “enough.” He smiled and watched her turn and turn and turn the crank on the cheese grater and laughed with the whole table when he finally held up his and and said, “thats enough.” His dinner guests were commenting loudly how they were afraid he was never going to stop, that he may have taken all of the cheese.
Both of these interactions were almost the same, and yet they weren’t at all. I’m curious why pepper and cheese get special treatment at restaurants, why are those the two items that are important enough for personal service? A little or a lot? It sort of depends on what is in the grater.
Have you ever felt like you were looking up at God saying, “That’s enough, thank you?” The pepper of life falling down on you and you are quick to say, “no more.” Or, have you ever looked at your life and had it feel like God was grating Parm all over your days and you didn’t want to ever say, “Stop.”
I’m not sure where this analogy goes but it makes me chuckle. Doug and I discussed at dinner how blessed we were, “beyond measure” is how the Bible puts it. I could sit here and list all the amazing blessings I have been gifted with; a complete A-Z list with footnotes included. I’m overwhelmed when I drink in all that God has given me. The “cheese” of life is gooey and melted and makes me feel a little guilty because He has given me so much.
And yet, at the same table where Doug and I discussed how richly blessed we are, we shed tears. It’s was such a strange juxtaposition. We miss Dad, we know Emily is going away to college soon, there are prayers we’ve prayed for years that still feel unanswered. It’s the pepper of life.
King David wrote about pepper and cheese, maybe he didn’t know it but he did. Not every psalm but many start with praise and adoration. He gives voice to the many blessings of God. Then for some reason David also includes what he is struggling with and talks about the people or circumstances that plague him and cause his heart to ache. He then ends with an affirmation of who God is and testifies that God will never change.
Our lives can overflow with blessings and our hearts can ache all at the same time. Laughing through tears isn’t abnormal, in fact, it’s the most real any of us can be.
I encourage you to open up the Psalms today and see for yourself what King David has written. You may find a voice for the unspoken words of your heart. Laugh with Jesus about the blessings he has given you but also let him see your tears and allow him to speak to your pain, to your fear, to your longings.
Pepper and cheese may not be the deepest thing I’ve ever written about but I hope it does make you think…and maybe laugh a bit too.
PS. Happy Birthday Doug!