Columnist unhappy with gifting, prays for a new one instead

Categorized as Grounds for Insanity column, Rhonda's Posts

It happened at the grocery store. We were on a mission, The Mister and I, to bring home the bacon. And the milk and the cereal and the eggs and all the other things that growing boys will eat. (For, oddly enough, growing boys believe that they must eat. And eat and eat and—well, you get where I’m going).

Nearly finished, we were gritting our teeth, prepping ourselves mentally for the really painful part; that is, paying for that pile. With several moments of deep breathing; a couple of motivational chants in unison; and a shot of Novocaine apiece, we picked a lane. And that’s where it all went south.

I should say that’s where it all went nowhere. For what appeared to be days, we stood there, waiting, shifting back and forth from one leg to the other ‘til both were fully numb. I celebrated a birthday, Easter came and went, and we’d blown through midterm elections when the line at last moved up. Or that is how it felt.

Knowing where to go for understanding and consolation, I shared it with my friends. “Apparently, my spiritual gift is choosing the slowest checkout lane,” I said. “Never fails. I always pick the one with the 543 coupons, a dispute about the special, or the cashier with no opposable thumbs. Why can’t I have the gift of prophecy or something? Why?”

As it turned out, I have some equally gifted friends. “I share your gift. Not to brag,” one of them said.

“This is roughly the equivalent of my spiritual gift,” said another, “choosing the cart with the weird wheel that pulls sharply to the left.”

“And makes a thumpity-thump sound as I rush through the store,” someone else added.

A neighbor volunteered that her husband had the same gifting while yet another friend confessed that the shopper with the 543 coupons? That was her.

Then an older gentleman chimed in. “God is teaching you patience,” he said. I grimaced. I’d been too sharp to ask the Almighty for help in that area, but it appeared He’d seen a need and acted.

“It’s just so you can pray for the people in front of you,” an aunt said, laughing. Huh. Guess I missed that one. Lord knew I had time to pray for them and then set to praying for revival, country by country, getting all the way over to Australia by the time the line finally moved. I filed it away for the next time I exercised my gift.

If choosing the gimpy cart and the slowest lane is a gift, then my offspring, too, are gifted. Oh, not that way, but in one I’ve whined about before.

Never in all my born days have I seen a crowd blow through towels like this one. Silently, in bathrooms, on floors, through the night as we slumber, they proliferate like rabbits in the spring.

“Didn’t I just wash these?” I wail, throwing up my hands, then feigning a back injury. “Didn’t I?”

It was this very, uh, gifting in full flower, however, that actually saved the day during the recent arctic insanity. Having made the mistake of looking at the laundry basket, I did what I do (wail and feint), then did what I do after that. I loaded the machine and went back to work. And that’s how I discovered the frozen pipes. Before they burst, see, and created a plumbing nightmare.

I didn’t tell the boys that their habit had been a gift. I’m way too canny for that. But apparently, I’m no Susannah Wesley because I spent no time that day praying before my washer à la Aunt Bertie. I didn’t do that, either.

When it comes to spiritual gifts, this girl’s branching out. Yup. I am. If eating pie is considered a gift, then I’m in. More specifically, if being a judge in a pie contest connotes a special gifting, then pick me! Pick me.

When the invitation came to be an official judge at the annual Pinecraft Pie Contest in Sarasota, Florida, I took my time deliberating (about 2.5 seconds) and said the yes. And further, if fleeing the frozen north for the sunny south is also a gift, then I’m multitalented. At the least, it demonstrates my stellar common sense. Knowing how dangerous it would be, taking boys to a pie contest, the decision to leave them in school and at work seems like good sense, too.

You’re welcome, contest organizers. You, too, hopeful bakers.

I’m squirming with excitement in my boots and sparkly scarf. I’ve never been to Florida before, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be terribly good at catching rays. At collecting sand in my flip-flops. At meeting friends and tasting pie, all with the BOP, that beloved Bright Orange Purse.

We’ll come back. I think. Then I’ll resume all my normal giftings up here in my natural habitat. I’ll go back to washing towels, choosing the wrong lines and praying for the gift of prophecy instead. That way, I’ll know which lanes to pick.

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