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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

An Abundance of Pudding

An abundance of pudding was the difference between whining and rejoicing on Saturday. Volunteering to help my wife for 30 minutes for her Stake Activity Days' event ended up taking about 9 hours. I was needed, it turns out, and glad to help, but part of what took so long was preparing 95 servings of a "mud cake" dessert when only about 50 were needed. The extra trips to the store to make up for the apparent shortage in the pudding she had prepared turned out to be unnecessary, something I didn't realize until I saw the 40+ uneaten servings. Normally I would have offered seconds to people, but I just felt that I should gather them and put them in the car, with no idea what to do with them later.

After clean up, when we were about to go and I was trying not to whine in my heart for all the time I had lost, we saw some Spanish speaking families coming into the building. I felt curious and when I chatted, I realized there was trouble. They were there for a baptism of a young boy, but no church leaders were there. They were away on a trip to the Chicago Temple. I looked toward the baptismal font behind wooden doors and could tell that no water was flowing. The doors to the font were locked. I was worried for them--this event was not about to go smoothly. In fact, it was one of those little disasters that can so easily happen in a busy ward especially when multiple languages are involved. We spent more time trying to reach ward leaders (surprisingly difficult), and finally helped to communicate and coordinate next steps. A misunderstanding had occurred, and the baptism would be rescheduled for tomorrow.

An important little thing happened in this process. The sorrowful mother with so many relatives and friends gathered for this big event, struggled with what to do--wait two hours to do the baptism there (that's how long it would take to fill the font) or hold the service tomorrow. She needed a little time to think and consult with her husband. Meanwhile there was a room full of kids, anxious and full of energy. That's when my frustrating day became worthwhile in a moment. The pudding! With permission of the parents, I ran out to the car and came back with a big tray of the beautiful little dirt cake desserts I had spent so much time making "in vain." "Would anybody like some dessert?" I asked. Never have I heard such heart-warming cheers of joy. They followed me into the cultural hall and each child took one of the cups I had prepared (a couple taking care to make sure it was OK with their parents--a wonderful example of dietary caution and parental respect). That kept them busy and happy while the parents discussed what to do and helped take some of the edge off the disappointment. Especially mine.

There were only two cups left. Three hungry boys gladly shared the last two. Nothing went to waste. Not even my time - a whole day was shot and it suddenly became a cause of joy, not whining, knowing that I was needed after all and helped turn a disaster into just a major problem. It really mattered that we were there to help track down leaders and negotiate alternative approaches and help keep the kids happy. The families went ahead and had their big meal together there with the fabulous tamales the mother had made. They invited us to share and I had some of the best tamales I've tasted in a long time, with perfect mole. Wow.

The puddings that I had gathered up and saved in my car, not knowing why, became little gems for me in that moment. A tiny little blessing, even a little miracle in my eyes, one that I'll treasure as "the miracle of the pudding."

13 comments:

Dallas, Dad, Big D & I said...

A good example of the "economy of the Lord". Thanks for the inspirational story. I will try to remember it and not whine next time something similar happens.

proud daugher of eve said...

Beautiful story and worth it just for the phrase "the miracle of the pudding." heehee!

Middle-aged Mormon Man said...

What a great story. Thanks for the reminder about the power of "small" things.

GDMNW said...

Brilliant.

The sentence concerning the downgrade from disaster to major problem had my wife and I in stitches.

Barbara said...

Loved it. Thanks for recognizing the miracle.

Elizabeth-W said...

Wonderful!!

Anonymous said...

What an absolutely wonderful story. I would be grateful for the miracle of the pudding too.

Annette Lyon said...

Thanks for sharing that--what a sweet and tender mercy for that family.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Thanks. It's a story I almost didn't share. For some reason, my life is filled with stories like this--moments of frustration that suddenly are transformed and reframed in a new light that reflects small miraculous gems I came close to missing. Small and always with abundant plausible deniability ("naw, just a coincidence, just a sentimental way of looking at something") so that nothing is proven except faith. The combined effect of these strings of experiences for me, however, is a deeper appreciation of the mercy and, of course, the reality of the Lord, but not in a way that can convince anyone else. It's hard to share these experiences, but I'm glad I tried with this one.

Papa D said...

Thanks, Jeff. That is lovely.

Carla said...

When we get to the 'other side', methinks we will be surprised at how often these little miracles are orchestrated in our lives.
Thank you for this story.

Dennis Agle said...

Nice, Jeff. I hope you don't mind, but I'm sharing this today with our readers at MDB.

Melissa said...

What a sweet testimony of the workings of the Spirit. We sometimes forget to listen to the promptings that we are lovingly supplied with everyday. I am so happy that you listened that day. I hope that I can live my life, always "listening". And always recognizing, and always thanking the Lord for the gifts that He gives to me. Thank you.