Friday, November 19, 2010

Enjoy Your Noodles:A Story of Thankfulness

                                            Enjoy Your Noodles: A Story of Thankfulness

The sign on the counter clinched my decision: “Our chicken stew voted one of America’s Top 10 Best Chicken Dishes by Redbook magazine.” My imagination salivated. Plump chicken breast slices bumped into carrots. Potato and celery chunks jostled for position to the top of the bowl, showing off their muscles.

It was our first visit to this highly celebrated deli recommend by our friend, James. We’d taken three wrong turns before we finally found it. But I knew my frustrations would melt away when that first bite of chicken stew hit my tongue. I congratulated myself on my healthy selection, compared to my husband’s choice of a pastrami sandwich. Until I stared into my bowl.

Nothing but noodles.

Okay, that was a lie. Scraps of chicken and a slice or two of carrot hid next to scrawny excuses for celery. Apart from that, the noodle family and their one hundred and six shirttail relations swam in their lake of broth.

Kevin charged into his five-inch mound of pastrami on rye, the spicy mustard dripping onto his moustache to mock me. “How is your sandwich, honey?”

“It’s great! I’m so glad we came here, Jeanette.” He wiped his mouth between bites. “It was worth all the trouble of finding it. You know, there aren’t many places that serve pastrami like this anymore. And just look how they piled it on.” How could he manage to get all those words out and all that food in at the same time? “I’m thankful to James for recommending this restaurant. Would you like a bite?”

“Oh, no, that’s okay.” I pretended not to mind that his taste buds were dancing in pastrami heaven while mine languished in…well.

His eyes closed in bliss while he took another bite. “How is your stew?”

“Well, I would hardly call it stew,” I whined. “I expected tons of veggies and huge chunks of chicken. This is barely more than a bowl of noodles splashed with chicken, and carrots tossed in for color.” I kept my voice calm despite the stress of my enormous disappointment, so he wouldn’t feel badly.

I needn’t have worried. No amount of discontent on my part could quench his pastrami-induced joy.

After fishing every sliver of chicken and shadow of veggie in the pond of noodles while listening to the virtues of the best pastrami on earth on the freshest rye in the universe, I excused myself. Perhaps on my way to the ladies room I’d happen by a table recently vacated by people who left half a sandwich untouched. I could sneak it into my purse then eat it behind the stall door—with a napkin on my lap, of course. I’m no lowbrow, after all.

But my conscience—and the empty plates I passed—made my decision for me. It seems the Lord had taken seriously my plea of “lead me not into temptation.”

While alone in the bathroom, I silently complained to the Lord about my stew. As He often does when my attitude is tacky, He spoke to me. I didn’t hear an audible voice, but way down on the inside of my insides, I sensed His kind, Daddy tone.

“Enjoy your noodles,” He said. As flat and matter-of-fact as someone saying, “Here’s a napkin to wipe your chin.”

I blinked. Well, of course. This is what I have in my bowl. Just because I expected a different meal, doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy these noodles. I should be happy for food in my belly, not miffed because I didn’t get my way.

I returned to the table, inspired by my little bathroom talk with Jesus, and slurped down the remainder of my lunch. I grinned at Kevin and said, “This deli was an excellent choice! Thanks for paying, honey.”

“You’re welcome.” Even his pastrami breath didn’t faze me. Too much.

Be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5


  1. Thanks for the gentle reminder. This time of year it is so easy to get tangled in the wants and I should haves.
    Enjoy your blessed season.


  2. I'm going to start that saying around our house, "Enjoy your noodles!" ;)

    And some of the lines in this are fantastic...taste buds dancing! :D
    ~ Wendy

  3. Cute post. Sounds like God served up a lesson with those noodles. Perfect lesson for us all.

  4. I'm with Wendy - "Enjoy your noodles"! :)

  5. I love this story! It's such a great reminder to be thankful for what we have--especially this time of year. Thanks!

  6. Such a great lesson, Jeanette. It's easy to be blind to the noodles when you're looking for chunks instead.

    "...pastrami-induced joy..." Ha, ha, ha! Mine might read, "Mocha-induced joy."


  7. ROFL. This may go down in my list of all-time favorite posts, Jeanette! Too funny.
    And I need to find one of those "no whining" signs. Or maybe one for every room...
    Bless you today!

  8. Great story and application, Jeanette. I remember being told that you know you live in abundance when you start complaining about a bit of gristle on your steak. Sometimes we really need these reminders to be thankful for what we have.


  9. Love this post. The funny thing is, I probably would have enjoyed those noodles very much. Huge meat sandwiches at delis don't look appetising to me at all.

    And your point about being thankful for what we have, we all need that message on a regular basis. Great job.

  10. LOL, Oh, Jen, you've already got one fan whenever you get that work of fiction pubbed. Excellent post, you lovely lowbrow!! (couldn't resist) :) Just kidding; you're the cream of the crop.


  11. Jen:
    We all need to be reminded to be thankful for what we have and not complain about what we want.
    Thank you for sharing this with us.

  12. Contentment is a tough one to swallow sometimes. Good story and thanks for sharing. :O)

  13. Jeanette, I smiled and nodded all the way through this story. I've been there with my hubbie at times. But I'm afraid I didn't listen to God about my attitude-maybe next time I need to go to the bathroom, too. He's got a captive audience there. :P "Noodle-on!"

  14. Hi Jeanette -

    Loved this story! And yes, that sure does sound like my Abba Father. He does get to the point.

    Susan :)

  15. Wonderful. So true, and so touching. We need only be aware.

  16. I LOVED your posting.......... you made me LOL in a few places. I love the kind and humorous way He shows us to enjoy life no matter what.


Oh, it's YOU! I'm so happy to see you here today, and look forward to reading your comments.