“I realized today, that we need to get new silverware,” I admit to our dinner guests seated around the lamb at the table. “It’s gotten a bit dull, bent and scratched.”
“Oh, it’s just the patina of age,” responds a friend.
The forks, knives and spoons we eat from every day, they came in the will of my Great Aunt and Uncle Brock who passed away more than twenty years ago. Antique, their longevity now extends beyond the mouths they feed.
Walking into Aunt IO and Uncle Art’s house as a child, it was like entering a museum of Victorian beauty. Dark paneled walls, painted hurricane lamps, tufted burgundy couches with intricately carved arms and legs, glass cabinets full of collected works of art to keep young eyes entertained while hearty adult conversation waxed long into the night. And a display of guns to make collectors drool, in the room where I fell asleep when the card parties went on later than my eyes could stay awake.
I looked forward to bridge parties with my grandparent’s when it rotated to the Brocks house. Maybe it had something to do with the way they all doted on me, the only child in the room. Or the summers we bonded at the Lake of the Ozarks with the girl, I assumed to be their granddaughter. Until I discovered they couldn’t have children.
Uncle Art, a banker in a three-piece suit and round wire frames, he wore a kind smile behind the cigar he puffed while engaging people, scotch in hand. I inhaled the sweet fragrance of tobacco like welcoming a long lost friend.
In the haze of smoke and the clink of glass, I sunk into the couch watching beauty pageants to pass the time. And felt sorry they didn’t know the Savior I knew. At least that’s what I thought. Because their faith, it didn’t look like mine.
They were wealthy Episcopalians. Although I attended Catholic mass weekly seated between my grandparents on wooden pews, I found my own eclectic, evangelical brand of Christianity during the week, surviving my mother’s drinking habits and mood swings.
Somewhere on the winding road to Jesus, my husband and I fell in love with Anglicanism, after the Pentecostal seminary and a stint as missionaries. Then the sacred serendipity, it hit me on Saturday when I stepped out of the shower.
All those years I judged their faith through my small lens, unaware of what I now know as a pilgrim of faith with dust between the toes in my sandals. That they understood the sacredness of the ancient faith, the tendrils of reverence that drip the mystery, an abiding oneness with the Spirit that beats a rhythm carried beyond Sunday. Blinded by my own haughty perception that Jesus only looks like the one I understand, I missed their display of extravagant grace.
Now I eat from the spoons of their Anglicanism every day around the table where the crumbs of grace fall to the floor. It took all these years to taste and see that their faith is good.
Then there was that day several years ago at the family cottage on the lake in Canada. When H’s grandmother, she shuffles slow toward me with a fist of spoons. Looks up at me through blue pools, wearing that grey crown of wisdom showing off glory and whispers, “Don’t you have spoons like these?”
I smiled and replied, “Yes, I do.”
She proceeds to the kitchen, sorts through drawers of collected mismatched utensils used over decades of summer sprawls. Places all the ones that look like mine in a plastic bag and hands them to me. Says she wants me to have them.
Like God extending his long arm through heaven holding a spoon, He says, “And now you will eat spoonfuls of her faith too.”
And may I swallow the bread of His life and drink the cup of His sacrifice, with wisdom from the instruments He chooses.
Maybe I don’t need new silverware after all.
Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!” ~Isaiah 40:3-5
Linking with Soli Deo Gloria, Just Write, Playdates with God, On Your Heart Tuesday.
you made me smile, shelly — i sure love my great aunt’s china and grandmother’s …and… brought some cherished memories and made me think of their faith– looking forward to seeing them all again — in His time
Me too Ed. I brought out some other pieces from their lives for our Easter breakfast and found myself telling stories that each one provoked. It’s good to remember our spiritual heritage, how the walk of others influenced our lives for the Kingdom. So glad you visited. Thanks!
this may be one of my favorites of yours… I have not been participating in organized church for a number of years now, for a number of reasons. none of which are my understanding of God. So often people misjudge me one way or the other because my current path does not look worn by others. keep your eyes open for us on this path, we are all together, even if on different parts of the road.
God uses so much more than the organized church to shape our faith in Him. And this doesn’t surprise me about you. I could feel hints of it in your writing. For me, the communion of the saints in worship is key to the way He speaks to me. And we are pilgrims together you and I – and I am so glad to be travelling beside you Tara. Your words inspire me to see Him differently.
oh, I feel you here with me. I really do. The road can be dusty. and it can seem long. but with friends to link hands, and hearts to join together…it is a beautiful, beautiful journey.
Have you read Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor? That book sums up a lot of my life. A lot of my heart. it wrecked me for the knowledge of what I believe to be true. I think you’d like it.
Shelly, I am saddened by the part of me that surfaces sometimes, the judgment of my heart towards others. . . and I turn it over to Him, again. Thank you so much for the beauty of your reminder, here.
Me too Jennifer. I grieve my incorrect and harsh judgements of others. And hope I am never so blinded by my own perspective that I miss the view He created for me to see. So glad you visited.
wow…how you can tell a story…eating their faith…And may I swallow the bread of His life and drink the cup of His sacrifice, with wisdom from the instruments He chooses. love this. blessings~
I want to be a life long learner of faith Ro. Thanks for your encouragement friend.
Love the honesty in this post and the strong imagery.. spoonfuls of faith. Yes, that’s sheer gift!
And I do my best thinking in the shower. It all came to me in those moments under the spray! Funny huh?
You are a beautiful writer….so captivating and romantic. I am blessed to have stopped by from Finding Heaven
So glad you stopped by, can’t wait to visit your place later.
Oh, my own haughty perceptions about Jesus and God…how many times have they tripped me up???
(This is beautiful soul food.)
Bridget, so nice to meet you. Look forward to visiting you later. And yes, aren’t they ugly, those haughty perceptions we have? Yuck.
LOVE this, Shelly – the faith journey interwoven with the artifacts of your story. Lovely.
Love that word artifacts Diana. So true. I was pulling things out of my china cabinet to set the table for our family Easter breakfast and I broke a platter that went with my grandmothers dishes. One I inherited when she passed away. It made me sad but then I realized that nothing can break the memories engrained in my mind. And I hope to learn how to do mosiac tiles one day and use all those pieces of broken china to makes something beautiful.
“And may I swallow the bread of His life and drink the cup of His sacrifice, with wisdom from the instruments He chooses”
Amen…. what a beautiful way of putting it Shelley!
So thankful for this my friend! Blessings!
Thanks Charina, always a pleasure to hear from you.
Your journey resembles mine in some ways. I grew up in the Salvation Army…very evangelical and very social minded…wonderful! Then I started going to my uncle’s Pentacostal church..I found Christ and His Spirit alive in me, full of miracles…Now I go to a non-Denominational church that deems itself Bapticostal….the best of both worlds. In the past few years, in my own journey, I wanted to learn about this denomination that CS Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle and Malcolm Smith called home. I bought a Book of Common Prayer and made it the devotional I used for a year. Although I still attend the same church, I am growing to love liturgy and the benefits of a caldendar that helps the congregant benefit from remembering key events…and the mystery of mysteries!! Yes, dear sister, our journeys are similar, and this is why are hearts are so connected, we have shared spoons.
What was rote to me in the liturgy as a child, has become deeply meaningful for me as an adult. And I am so thankful for it. I use the Book of Common Prayer for daily readings too. My faith journey has so many curves and bends in the road, yet it is the way He planned it all along. I don’t think there is anyone I can’t relate to in some way when it comes to spiritual heritage. So glad to be eating from the same spoons with you Kimberly, what a pleasure my friend.
What a gift to have gifts of rememberence of those that touched our lives with their faith. This week I have been remembering my Grandmother who always sat at her piano and sang old hymns in difficult times. Now I often remember to just sing with old hymns when life spins into times of pain and sturggle. She always made a coconut cake for me and this year my sensitive sweet husband brought one home for me to taste the memories with each bite. I put a slice on a plate of Grandmother’s and eat with the flatware of my Mother. Memories of their faith and love just flow as I delight in the taste of a very favorite Easter sweet. Thank you, Shelly, for helping me travel into the memories of all the icons in my home. Yes it is just stuff but it comes with the stories of where we came from, helps me stand where I am and seek God for where He is calling me to take the next step. Your writings are such an encouragement and blessing.
I had that coconut cake at Allen Hughes mom’s place on Easter. Even though I didn’t grow up with it, it brought back all kinds of memories. She said she always had it at Easter too. It is good to have those roots to hold onto when storms want to captivate our attention. They keep us grounded, remind us where we came from, give us hope in the uncertainty of the future. Glad to walk this journey with you Ann.
loved how you took something very common and made it into a lesson for all of us… and everytime you look at that silver ware you are reminded… God is good… also, I enjoyed these lines: unaware of what I now know as a pilgrim of faith with dust between the toes in my sandals.
I will be reminded now. Funny how I have been eating off those forks for years but how beautiful the common became when He whispered the meaning to me. But isn’t that faith, seeing the glory of God in the mundane of life? Thanks for following the community here. So nice to have you along the journey as a fellow pilgrim!
My silverware drawer is emptying. I think they leave in the trash with the paper plates 🙂 So neat that H’s grandmother added to the collection that came from your family. They, like the two of you, were destined to serve big helpings of faith together.
Dea, mine are emptying too. I noticed it when I was having a dinner party the other day. Think my kids are accidentally putting them in the trash with their paper plates, which makes me feel sick. I just think it is so amazing that two families who didn’t know each other until we married, who live in different countries, had the same silverware. God is so good.
This is so beautiful. I’ve always carried a real sentimentality in relation to things that belonged to my grandmother and great-grandmother. Continuing their use with my children (they never got to meet) makes me feel like a part of them continues on in a more tangible way. It also gives me another opportunity to talk about them and tell stories about them to my kids.
I feel the same way about carrying on the legacy. I have quite a bit of my grandmothers jewelry too and I treasure it. So nice to meet you today, enjoyed your place too.
This line…. “Blinded by my own haughty perception that Jesus only looks like the one I understand…” means A LOT. I think everyone in the world could take a lesson from those words. This is a wonderfully beautiful and sentimental post. Thanks for the read… 🙂
I think some of this is only realized in the growing up in our faith. We can’t expect people to know what took us decades. But I do agree with your sentiments. So glad you joined the conversation on this post.
I think it so beautiful that you are being fed by the silverware of those who fed (and continue to feed) you in so many ways. What a lovely legacy to swallow, Shelly. A happy Eastertide to you. My friend.
I agree Laura, it is pretty awesome. So jealous of that beautiful interview you did with Lauren Winner! Looking forward to reading that book.
It is so easy to judge when “Others faith doesn’t look like mine” how dare they listen to other music, dress a different way, worship in a manner different from mine! OH wait, they love the Lord fervently and with passion…..we are brothers not enemies!
Yep Jody, I am guilty. Hoping not to pass that on to my kids. It’s just ugly.
You sure know how to speak to my heart, Shelly.
“Blinded by my own haughty perception that Jesus only looks like the one I understand, I missed their display of extravagant grace.”
Striving to see beyond my understanding. Thank you for this! I’ll treasure it. just like my handed-down silverware!
I wrote down in my journal the other day, that I tend to avoid certain things that I don’t understand or have little knowledge of. And that isn’t always good. Sometimes it is insignificant but avoiding things I don’t understand can lead to small thinking. I have been trying push myself, to expand my perspective a bit.
ah, fellow “pilgrim of faith with dust between the toes in my sandals.” you write so beautifully. Makes me wonder who and what I have missed in life due to judging them or looking through narrow lens. Love your honesty too!
Jean, you humble me. Thankful to have your wisdom here in this space. I think I have probably missed out on some stellar relationships because my judgment. But thankfully, I serve a God of redemption!
Wow, speak it sister.
Denise, you made me laugh.
This is absolutely lovely. Thank you.
Thank you Kirsetin, so nice to meet you.
This is a beautiful story. I think all of us are guilty from time to time of molding Jesus into what we want Him to be.
And your post about the silveware causes me to remember some that I have that belonged to my grandmother. She truly was a woman of faith and now each time I see the silverware I will not only think of her, but remember her deep love for the Savior.
Shelly, this is beautiful. My husband and I have found ourselves at an Anglican Church (actually helped start it). I was raised with many church backgrounds, from Catholic to evangelical, and so grateful for that now because truly I can go to any Christian church and feel at home. Like a respected priest once said from the pulpit, “We are all one body just sitting in different pews.”
Theresa, it sounds like you and I have walked the same curvy trail of faith. I feel the same way. I think I can relate to just about any faith background and I am grateful for that. So glad you shared this, it is nice to know that about you.
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