As I sat on the back porch yesterday with the breezes blowing and the sunbeams dancing across the gray floor boards…..I was counting my blessings….
One by one.
For family and friends and fall and leaves and mums and striped fabric…..
….and petrified French fries.
Please tell me you know what I’m talking about.
Please tell me you’ve seen them.
The ones that escape from the pack and then bury themselves under the floor mats and harden to a substance stronger than Superman’s arms of steel.
I have a car full of them.
I wasn’t always thankful.
The other day as I sat in my car before church….those petrified french fries were taunting me.
Along with the layers of spilled orange soda.
And capri sun packets and old sprite cans and crayons and half-filled out Mad Libs and markers and scissors and the entire tiny-pieces-of-paper population from the beautiful bluegrass state.
And as I got out and shut the door….I noticed the car next to me.
It was so sparkling and clean.
The leather looked like it was fresh from the showroom.
Every space perfect. Every car mat vacuumed to perfection.
Not a petrified french fry in sight.
And right there….in the pocket behind the seat….where I had just spied the remnants of a 48 pack of Crayola crayons in my car…
……was a perfectly perfect umbrella.
Perfectly ready for a rainy day.
I think it was the umbrella that did it.
I longed for the perfection of that car with the umbrella.
I longed with all my heart for a car with shiny seats and clean floor mats and windows without fingerprints.
A car where petrified french fries would never…ever….ever….dare show their face.
I left the parking lot and walked into the church building….down the hall and around the corner.
And then I saw her.
The owner of the umbrella pocket car.
There she sat….an older woman….poised and beautiful and dressed to perfection….without a hair out-of-place.
I couldn’t help it….I had to say something.
“I love your car,” I blurted.
“I was sitting in my car full of crayons and pieces of paper and crushed sprite cans and petrified french fries.
And then I saw yours. And I almost cried. It’s perfect and wonderful and clean and sparkling and….and….and….you have an umbrella,” I said quickly….the words tumbling out in a rush.
She didn’t say a word.
She just smiled a little sadly.
And then one of her friends said in an aside in a small quiet voice that pierced to the center of my heart,
“She would trade with you in a minute.”
So wisely, perfectly, wonderfully, with -such-an-incredible-reminder-at-that-exact-moment-that-it-almost-took-my-breath-away….
Time passes so quickly and the days of crayons and capri suns and scissors and markers fade away.
Just when you blink.
I hugged her and walked away slowly.
And counted every blessing and then sent a small silent prayer of gratitude.
Overwhelming, incredible, joyful gratitude….for tiny hands that cut all those pieces of paper and joyful voices that chattered and giggled and laughed and told knock-knock jokes as they ate handfuls of chicken nuggets and french fries…..
….with a few left a few behind to be extra thankful for.
PPS And my wonderful friend Laura just posted one of the prettiest room make-overs….get ready to be inspired.