Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 CSB
We had planned to have a low-key day, I was scheduled to work so we had not planned on a large family meal or visits with extended family. We had resolved that we would celebrate that Day’s events the following day. When the unexpected surprise came that we could spend our time together we opted for Chinese Cuisine for our family lunch. We dressed casually. I donned my “Go Jesus it’s your Birthday” shirt and jeans, and out the door we went. Our favorite Chinese place is about a 20 minute drive away, we sang together loudly with the radio and saw only a few passing cars. It was obvious it was Christmas.
When we arrived at our favorite eatery the parking lot was already filling with vehicles. We pulled our tired ol’ minivan into a spot and I chuckled at all the surrounding fanciful, luxurious, cars dotting the perimeter. As I am prone to do, I imagined my ol’ minivan attempting to converse with the other transportation vehicles and the awkwardness of it all made me giggle out loud.
“Why you have an actual key for your ignition?” (In my head I imagined the Beamer parked adjacent with a female slightly foreign voice.)
“What do you mean you don’t have a backup camera?”
“You mean your seats are torn and sutured together with duct tape?”
When asked what I was laughing about, I knew I would have to explain, so I just said, “Nothing.”
Our wait time was minimal and as is customary we perused the adjacent oriental market. I said repeatedly to my Martins, “Look with your eyes only! NOT your hands!”
When we were seated we were placed in a large corner booth. We “selfied” and chatted and decided on our lunch cuisine. To each his own. Some simple. Some came with a warning from our waiter, Jack, “It very authentic. You sure you want? Lots of tofu?” My adventurous eaters grinned and nodded in affirmation. Jack relented and wrote it down on his notepad, I figured he might be saying to himself, “That’s not going to end well.”
As we waited for lunch to arrive a family was seated next to us in our big booth. The mama was giving seating directions in English and then would speak in brief segments of what I assumed was Mandarin Chinese. She sounded as most Mamas do, instructing where to sit and ordering drinks. She would answer questions and was as good at deflecting any melt down inducing answers as any experienced fencer might be in warding off blows from an equally skilled opponent. As they sat, the youngest boy was brought a cup with a lid and straw.
“No! I want a big-boy cup like you! I’m not a little kid! I can do it by myself!”
The bilingual Mama shushed him as she ordered something and then clarified in English, “Roasted Snails.” I thought I might fall over. None of our table occupants even flinched except for me.
The smallest in stature again protesting his drink cup.
“No!! I can do It ALL BY MYSELF!”
His wise bilingual Mama continued to busy herself with Mama-at-the-table tasks: Ordering for the non-bilingual people at the table, spreading out napkins, placing silverware out of reach, moving the mid-table carafe of enticing temptations. She looked like I have before, and even like I do now, a universal maternal meal time standard of operating procedures.
As the meal meandered on, ours and theirs, I was replaying the conversations in my head.
The “I can do it all by myself!” mentality spans the world of age and geography.
I’ve said it myself a time, or ten. I say it often actually. I do not like to be dependent, to ask for help. I do not like to need help. Yet by that very mindset I’m in direct contrast with what the King desires for me. He wants me to give my burden to Him, to come to Him. His Word says,
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you;
he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22
As we left our favorite place and I imagined my tired ol’ minivan having made friends with her upper class neighbors (perhaps she vowed to see them soon), her occupants were full and happy having spent time together. This Matriarch occupant was especially grateful for having remembered, in the King’s economy, it takes more resolve and strength to be dependent on Him than it does to do it all by myself, and in doing that, knowing He will sustain me.