Seriously, a chicken salad sandwich.
At one point I feared the disagreement might come to blows so I almost threw the coveted sandwich into the yard.
Just so you know, I love chicken salad. It's one of my favorite things. We have a long, lovely history, chicken salad and me. At the bridesmaids' lunch before my wedding, guess what the hostesses served? You got it, chicken salad. I once worked for a caterer where one of my jobs was to mix chicken salad in a huge Tupperware container like the ones that hold your Christmas decorations or your kids’ toys. When I was newly married, fell in love with a deli in Montgomery, Alabama because they served a sandwich called a chicken salad supreme.
So, believe me when I say I know good chicken salad. But, this wasn't it. Even when it was fresh two days before, it had not been very good. After 48 hours in my refrigerator, the bread was stale on top and soggy on bottom, the lettuce was limp and the chicken salad was just okay. It definitely wasn’t worthy of a squabble.
|Thanks How to Feed a Loon|
I tried to reason with them.
I reminded them how old the sandwich was and how undesirable it had been on its first day.
I asked them to think about how silly this whole thing was and how mature they are, usually.
Reason did not prevail. One kid ended up accusing me of “always” being on his brother’s side. The other one gave up and let his brother have the silly sandwich. I’m sure his lunch, whatever it was, was much more satisfying. I ended up frustrated and angry and left the house rehearsing how terrible these kids of mine are and whether I should have thrown the sandwich in the garbage or made them share it alternating bites brother to brother.
I was terribly disappointed with these two otherwise grown-up-ish 18 year olds. Arguing over a sandwich? Come on. I think the frustration was prompted by fatigue and hunger, but you can’t blame everything on being “hangry”. At some point you have to rise to the occasion and act sweet and giving.
But, I didn’t act much better. I gave in to anger and frustration. I was demanding and easily provoked, not understanding and kind. Not a great example.
Though my desires may be bigger and more complicated than a chicken salad sandwich, I still want what I want when I want it. I often struggle to trust that God has a plan and that it’s good, especially when I’m faced with something I want that I’m not getting. I sometimes want to dive for what I want, clutch it to my chest and yell, “Mine!”
This whole predicament reminded me of a story.
Do you remember Abigail in the Bible? She had a husband who was bad news. I Samuel 25:3 says her husband, Nabal, was harsh and badly behaved. He was rich and had lots of stuff, servants, goats, and sheep. Plus, he was blessed with a wife who was “intelligent and beautiful.” Even so, he wanted what he wanted and was selfish to boot.
David, who would soon be king, asked Nabal for a favor. He had previously protected Nabal's flock and servants and now he asked Nabal for provisions for his men. It was a feast time and David knew Nabal was already planning to celebrate. David didn’t even specify what he wanted. He just asked Nabal to “give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.” (1 Samuel 25:8)
Nabal refused. He wanted to use what he had for himself regardless of David's kindness to him in the past. Nabal had his reasons. They were just foolish.
The story goes on with a threat from David, a cry for help from one of Nabal's servants to Abigail, and a brave meeting between Abigail and David.
While I'd like to think I'm like Abigail - brave, smart and pretty, I think I'm more often like Nabal. I'm selfish and short-sighted. And, I don't have an Abigail to clean up my messes.
I could have called my children Nabal #1 and Nabal #2 on the day of the sandwich fight. They were so foolish, silly and angry. Peace eventually prevailed, but I want there to be no reason for peace to be restored. I yearn for peace to rule and reign. I wished for Abigail to ring my doorbell that day and tell us not to fight. She would have had fresh, delicious chicken salad sandwiches for each of us. I wanted one of my kids to play that role for the other, not in grudging exasperation, but in love and gentleness.
They didn't and they probably won't and there will be more stupid fights in our future. We don't want to be “wicked men that no one can speak to” like Nabal, but sometimes we will be. I just pray that those “Nabal” days will be interspersed with many more “Abigail” ones. I pray for kindness and wisdom to prevail.
And, next time, I pray the chicken salad is at least worth fighting for.
(For the best chicken salad recipe ever, look here.)