|The Story of the Oreo Lunch|
by Monica Paynter
I was hoping for a dose of artistic inspiration as I beheld the beauty of the paintings at a local art exhibit. My heart fluttered when I found the inspiration I was looking for, ironically as I gazed at a painting of a messy dining room table. This particular piece of art seemed to tell a story of a mom who momentarily looked away, while putting forth loving efforts to prepare a meal for her family. In the time it took to blink her eye, her 2-year-old decided to play peek-a-boo with the table cloth, pulling it out from under the turkey, the fruit and every plate and piece of silverware on the table. The spilled food was then ravaged by the family dog, leaving no part of the meal salvageable.
I felt so deeply connected to the picture, and the imagined scenario, a grand epiphany seemed to whisper to my heart: What would happen, in relationships, if we boldly shared and celebrated our life's unexpected outcomes with each other? And so I gathered a group of close friends together to determine, “Who had the worst day?” We were all given an opportunity to say everything that went wrong during our day, vent frustration and laugh or cry about unexpected outcomes. Whoever had the worst day would win a prize!
One mom was exhausted; she said, as she cared for her triplets. This particular afternoon, she was so utterly tired, she found herself unable to get off the couch to feed the triplets lunch, so she handed her boys Oreos when they ran by her. Not only did she win the prize in our game, but she also encouraged the formation of relationships where women can share what’s really happening in their lives, supporting and connecting to each other. Our friend telling her story of the Oreo lunch communicated, “We are not alone in motherhood. “
When life's canvas is splattered with the colors of unwanted spontaneity, a most precious potential for nurturing relationships arises. Sharing these experiences enables us to release self-protection and encourages friends to get real with each other. Supportive relationships help remind us to look to God together, the true source of strength and love.
Take pictures of those unexpected outcomes in your life that cause you to laugh and cry! Celebrate the messes with friends, and be sure to bring the Oreos!
Monica Paynter is a freelance writer from North Carolina who was involved on the Steering Team with her MOPS group while her children (now 6 and 7) were younger.