I remember being at my friend Mason's house when I was in middle school, looking for a snack. Mason had the best snacks. Granola bars, fruit by the foot, gushers, cans of soda, you name any good snacks of the late nineties and you could find it at Mason's house. I know I might be remembering it incorrectly but I think when you opened his cabinets, light burst out and music started playing. I am sure you can probably remember the friend with the good snacks. Our house always hovered in the middle of the road when it came to snacks and all of the good ones were "only for school lunches." Anyway, I was looking for a snack at Mason's house and I remember seeing quite a few cans of peaches stacked on top of each other in the corner of his pantry. This completely shocked me because until I was in high school I thought that a can of peaches was one of the greatest delicacies you could consume.
Backtrack about seven years and I am a six-year-old sitting at the dinner table in our house on Olive Street with my two sisters and brother. My mom rounds the corner from the kitchen and it gets loud, like a group of teenage girls just saw Justin Bieber loud. My siblings and I are screaming with excitement because tonight is the night we eat like the kings and queens of old. Tonight is the night that we live a little. Tonight is the night that our house is the coolest place to be. Tonight is the night that eclipses any other night because tonight is peach night. My mom places the family size can on the table and passes out six ceramic bowls and six metal spoons as we gaze upon that shiny can of peaches. Then my dad takes the can opener and clicks it down on the can. With his forearms flexed, he grinds that opener the whole way around. Surely only a man like my dad can handle this important task. We are all warned as we reach for the lid that the edges are sharp and eventually one of us sticks our finger down the inside of the can to fishes it out. It's lifted and discarded and we gaze at the golden glow of the can like conquistadors of old finding shimmering treasure. Then in unison we turn to mom and dad and ask,
"HOW MANY CAN WE HAVE?!?!"
Then like a lion attacking a gazelle we stab our spoons, forks and hands into the belly of the can and fish out our spoils. For a few amazing minutes our tiny house in Southern California is transformed into the banquet hall of a king. We were all so happy to be receiving such a treat that thanksgiving pours out of our mouths between the slurp of peaches and peach juice.
This happened every so often in our house and I never thought it was a weird. I pictured my friends reacting the same way to a family size can of peaches in their houses. I grew up thinking that it was totally normal because it was. It was the normal response on Olive Street and that was all I knew.
I was in high school when it all came crashing down. I remember thinking it was weird that Mason had a lot of peaches, but he always had good snacks so I wasn't that surprised. It was in high school that the veil was lifted and I realized that peaches weren't a delicacy. My friends and I were walking around a grocery store trying to decide what we should get to eat when I with all the pride and passion I could muster said, "WE SHOULD GET A CAN OF PEACHES!" I thought maybe between all of us we could split a family size can. I quickly did the math in my head. There are six of us and if we all have $20 that would be $120 and I think that should be enough. My friends turned and looked at me with a combination of shock and annoyance and I quickly realized that my excitement was out of place. I forget what we ended up getting that night but I do remember making my way to the canned good aisle and seeing that a small can of peaches was under $1.
At the sight of that little price tag in the middle of the grocery store I realized something amazing that still brings a smile to my face when I think about it. My mom was brilliant. She knew that we didn't have a lot of money in our bank account when we were growing up. My dad was a missionary and missionaries sacrifice a certain type of lifestyle to do what they do. My mom didn't use that missionary paycheck as a reason for us to not have treats. She used it as a challenge to show us that the value of something isn't in the fanciness or newness of it, but in the excitement around it. It's in the joy that it brings and for us, that was a family size can of peaches. She was the hype girl and she sold those peaches as a delicacy and we ate it up, literally.
I have noticed in a lot of different areas of life that people are so unhappy. I scroll through my Facebook feed and I see people complain about their job, kids, life, house, blah, blah, blah, etc, etc, etc and I think about my mom getting four kids genuinely excited about a can of peaches. We need more of that in our world. We need more excitement, energy and joy about life. As Christians we need to be expressions of true, undying, never-ending, joyful love. We need to do for Jesus what my mom did for those peaches. We need to get excited about Him so that others will realize how important He is. We need to show the value of a relationship with Christ by the overflowing joy He brings to our lives. We should always be encouraging and thanking others with excitement and energy. We should be the life of the party because we are connected to the giver of life! God’s love should be so evident through our joy that people want to be around it. The best part about being joyful, excited and happy is that when people ask, “Why are you so happy?” “Why do you have so much energy?” “Why do you never seem sad?”
You can say, “Because of Jesus!”
Jesus said, “I have come so that you may have life and life to the full.” Let’s start acting like we have that full life. Let’s take some of that peach energy my mom gave so abundantly to her children and give it to God!
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