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Church was good today. The pastor said something about pickles, “when you’re in a pickle… remember you don’t have to eat the pickles.” Very cute, I hadn’t heard that one before. I do remember having had the pickiest kids and how we would often have to order them a burger, “plain and dry.” Please, please, whatever you do, don’t let a pickle near that kid’s plate. Just a tiny pickle on a piece of lettuce and the whole plate is going to be contaminated with pickle vibes, amid shrieks of, “is…that….a… pickle?”

Dad was far more gracious than I was about such things, but I think his tolerance and desire to “just let the kids be kids” fueled some unnecessary finicky-ness. We used to argue about it, and I did manage to draw the line once about a princess spoon. Dad is a cut- the-crusts-off, peel-the-kid’s-grape for them, kind of dad. His mom owned a restaurant and cooked all her life. I grew up dumpster diving poor and there was never enough to eat. I was the oldest kid, he was one of the youngest. He had half a dozen people willing to peel the skin off his grapes for him. Hubby and I are one extreme contradiction after another, completely incompatible in culture, upbringing, style. Opposites do attract sometimes.

Pastor didn’t just speak of pickles however, he spoke of extending grace to others, of allowing each person to be one of God’s children. We’re all on our own journey, we all have our own quirks. I struggle with this a lot, with being patient and accommodating towards others, but not in the ordinary sense. I enjoy most people, I enjoy the diversity, I love to hear about where people are at in their journey. I do have to remember to be forgiving to extend grace, to not judge and measure people by my own standard, but for the most part it comes naturally, it is second nature to me.

I love that term, “second nature.” I have a second nature, one born of grace and not of this world.

I don’t struggle with letting God’s children be His children, quirks and all, in the ordinary sense, I struggle with the appalling, unjust, unfair ones, the rottenness to my darn bones people. I don’t trust in justice, I have that wounding that comes from knowing perfectly well you can’t fight city hall, that the deck is stacked against you, that might makes right and that the powerful always win. It’s the wrong mindset to have, but it’s one born of experience. Takes a huge leap of faith to trust in the Lord and not my own understanding.

Matthew 5:46-47 comes to mind, “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?”