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On the Side - October 2012

Are You Ready?
by Carol Shrader

The bananas were an unexpected luxury. Feeding a family of five on a resident’s salary did not often afford fresh fruit. But when I ran in for milk, there they were and so cheap I could not pass them up! As I walked toward the register with bananas and milk, the bag of nacho cheese chips screamed at me. My kids’ favorite.

The cheers that erupted from my three kindergarteners would have led you to believe I had just purchased tickets to Walt Disney World!

“Can we have Doritos and bananas for supper, Mommy?” they chorused. “Please!”

Since Dad was working that night, supper would be served at their little table with the four of us enjoying the luxury of chips and bananas. As Benjamin blessed the food, I prayed I was making memories if not forming good eating habits.

And right then, the doorbell rang.

I stared at the kids. They stared back at me. I went to the door to greet my husband’s research partner from medical school days – didn’t Wade tell me he was stopping by for dinner on his annual visit to Minnesota? Um. No.

But of course, he was welcome. Even if the Southern homemaker inside me was screaming, “No! No one can KNOW I fed my kids chips and bananas!!!”

But dear friend had a sense of humor and we had a good laugh as I scrounged for a meal that did not consist of cheese covered chips and fruit.

And really, it was a delightful story. A funny anecdote of life in residency where sleepless nights made my usually very-mindful husband forgetful; and lots of children with little salary made our meal times creative. Delightful.

Right up until the next year, when for whatever reason, the kids remembered the chips and banana meal and requested it again….and I gave in…and the doorbell rang….and the same friend was standing on my doorstep expecting a meal.


I am fairly certain my charming Southern hostess card was revoked that night. I am also fairly certain that the pizza place down the street never answered such a frantic call for help. And I am fairly certain my husband got an ear-full. An ear-full!

I was unprepared. I did not have – as my Mom had taught me – anything in the freezer that could be whipped out and served up in a moment. My cupboard was bare. We literally had the option of chips, bananas and milk. Period.

Obviously, this was not an inherited trait. My Mom can make a meal from little more than flour and water. And my family tells a story of my Grandmother Susie that makes me smile:

My uncle was serving in the military. Grandmother Susie was raising the four younger children (my Dad included) alone. And they were all eagerly awaiting a promised leave of duty for the beloved son and oldest brother.

When my uncle thought to surprise them by arriving home in the middle of the night, there waiting on the table was his favorite dessert – Lemon Icebox Pie – and all the children gathered around the table waiting.

Uncle Mel turned to his Mother questioningly, “But you had no idea when I would be home, “ he said, “how did you know to make the pie today?” To which my grandmother replied, “I didn’t. I have made Lemon Icebox Pie every night for two weeks.”

I get choked up just thinking about it. And feel a smidgeon inadequate in my preparedness factor. And yet, I am struck with this story by something far more meaningful than corn chips and lemon pie:

When speaking of his return, Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come!” (Mark 13:32-33 NIV)

Dear friends, are you ready? Oh, I don’t mean corn chips or lemon pie. Do you have an active relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you have a relationship that is growing, serving and delighting in the fellowship with Him?

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and Godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” (2 Peter 3:10-12a NIV)

My prayer this month is that you will live in a constant state of readiness! And if you have questions, you can reach me through Side By Side. It would be my privilege to speak with you and pray for you.