The mailman arrived with the usual letters and one very interesting cardboard box. It wasn't a large box, but rather was long and thin and just big enough to be interesting. No one ever sent us packages and so this box brought all the kids to the kitchen to see what was what. Who could have sent it? We did have relatives who lived in far off places, but the return address was unknown and that was no help.
Mom asked Dad for his pocket knife and she very carefully cut the tape. Oh, we could barely stand the suspense as she slit tiny slits and edged the top off. At last the box was open and we could see the wonderfulness of what was inside. Laaaaaaaa.....it was.......a fork. Yes, it was a FORK! What in the world? Who could have sent us a FORK??!! This was no ordinary fork but it was, instead, the most fantastic, the most wonderful, the most amazing fork of all forks in the land. It had Japanese writing on it and it became the symbol of all that was out there in the world and all we didn't have right there at home.
If you had taken a tour of our silverware drawer, you would have found a hodgepodge of items. my grandparents had moved in with us, so add those in. My mother had cared for her father before that and so add in the Clark bits. My dad had been a bachelor for a while, so toss in the batching oddments. We had always eaten with whatever was set by our plate and never really noticed any difference.
The fork changed that. Every meal became a fight because the three of us wanted THE FORK. Fried bologna tasted so much better with THE FORK. Mashed potatoes went from good to sublime with THE FORK. Pot roast on a Sunday reached the heights of heights, but only if you ate it with THE FORK. Kids rushed to the kitchen to set the table so they most amazing and wonderful fork would be by his/her plate....the losers ate with the drab old silverware, no sparkle, no shine, no Japanese letters.
Of course, the fork became like any other fork and fell into the jumble in the drawer and the magic was over. I didn't think much of it until we cleaned out my mother's house and found it. Big and clunky, cheap and tacky looking.....VERY 70s in its design....how could we have fought over that ugly thing? I had a good laugh reminiscing and shared the story with my sister-in-law who was helping me.
I've been reminded of THE FORK this week. I've been to some homes of some friends and they are wonderful and beautiful and ORGANIZED and CLEAN and I came home and saw my own home as cluttered and busy and in need of a good scrub before I could enjoy it. I went from being content to discontent in less than 60, and it took a little reminding from my wise 13 year old son, to be thankful for our home. It's warm, inviting, comfortable and casual and HOME. ( I suspect he's trying to get out of the major cleaning session he sees on the horizon, but I'll give him credit for helping me out of the funk.)
It's so easy to let discontentment eat away at us and destroy our gratitude and our happiness. I Thessalonians 5:18 says to be grateful in all circumstances. I'll be thankful for the hodgepodge of silverware in my drawer (where DID all that stuff come from??!!!) and I'll be thankful for the beautiful home the Lord has provided...even if it's festooned with a few extra cobwebs and dust bunnies. Drop in and see me sometime and you can have the special fork.