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Day 6: Ponder the ordinary—and the surprises

February 18, 2013

Verse for reflection: But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

Usually we read this verse in conjunction with the Christmas story. I’ve always been so glad for this postscript and window into Mary’s heart. But it is a great verse for Lent, and living more mindfully or purposefully.

When our youngest was just a toddler, my parents came to visit and together we went to Chincoteague barrier island off the coast of Virginia for a few days. We made the trip in a trusty circa 1979 Plymouth station wagon, packing my father’s wheel chair, a walker, a car seat and assorted paraphernalia for a beach vacation for four adults and three children. Some of our gear was stored in one of those Turtle-type toppers on the wagon.


Our daughters dutifully washing the wagon before the trip with Grandpa and Grandma.

On the way home, we needed to drop my parents off at the airport on a Sunday morning. We had a short devotional/worship time in the car as we drove. My parents weren’t pious Joes, but anytime we traveled on Sunday as a family when I was growing up, we usually tracked down a church to visit. Or if not that, at least we had “devotions” at the motel or campsite. So they tried to teach and live that one’s faith never took a vacation.

After our little worship service, we spied a roadside fruit stand in eastern Maryland—really just a flatbed hay wagon piled up with watermelons. A crude sign announced “3 melons for $1.” They were huge melons and the bargain was too good to pass up, so we stopped. We stewed awhile over which ones to pick, and also how to fit them in our overloaded station wagon, and ended up taking one or two out and replacing them with smaller melons that fit our space. We paid our dollar and continued on, now a little worried about making it to the airport on time.

Soon a police car pulled us over! My husband went into panic mode and was sure he had failed to stop for a light or had maybe been speeding. But no, the cop, sheepishly, said he had been informed that someone thought we had stolen some watermelons. He said he’d gotten a call from the roadside stand saying we had put more than three melons in our car.

At that point my husband fell over himself in relief explaining how we had put some in, and then out, and officer, you can search this car all over but we only have three watermelons in it. He showed him one at the feet of one child, and then offered to open the Turtle topper to show him the other two. As the officer peered at our walker, grandparents and children (with my mother muttering in the background about how we weren’t crooks, we’d just had a worship service, for crying out loud) suddenly the officer waved his hand and said something like “That’s alright. I think you’re telling the truth” and waved us on, also probably deciding he had better things to do than chase down anyone accused of stealing something worth 33 cents.

This is now one of our favorite vacation stories and if you trade cop or vacation stories with my family for very long, you will probably hear it, with more or less embellishment, depending on who’s telling it. My mother treasures the worship service we had on the road. My kids remember being squished in the station wagon, but basking in the attention of doting grandparents. My husband recalls the gratitude that washed over him when he discovered he was “only” being stopped as a suspect in a highway robbery. I ponder all these things, remembering my parents’ strong value of always taking time to remember the Lord’s day, no matter where you are.

Which gets us back to Lent and the reminder from Mary as she contemplated all the events of Jesus’ birth. If we are to “keep a holy Lent” as the pastor reminds us, surely the mundane details or even wild surprises, are worthy of mulling, worthy of finding the God moments in every day. It’s a reminder to us to do likewise with the everyday experiences of our lives.

Action: Take time at the end of the day to ponder where you saw God. Were there any surprises? Or perhaps your day did not go so well. Focus on the love and devotion your heavenly parent extends to you. Share  a  comment if you wish.


This Lenten series runs Monday through Friday. I invite you to join me on this journey through Lent (if you sign up to follow this blog it will be easier). As a thank you, I can send you a FREE booklet I wrote several years ago, 14 Days to a Better You, which is a look at the classic 7 Vices and 7 Virtues. It’s more fun than it sounds. No obligation—just my way of connecting with blog followers a little better. Leave a comment and I’ll be able to see your email and follow up.


From → Faith, Family Life

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