What do BLTs, peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese, and I have in common? Yep, we are all sandwiches. I generally think of myself as fried bologna with cheese (if you know me, you know about the cheesy part), happily ensconced between four buns (think about it), my elderly mom on one side and my college daughter on the other.
Being part of the so-called sandwich generation* just sort of showed up on my life menu one day and rather than spit it out with displeasure, I have decided to gobble it up with glee. Oh, sure, there are days when I would really like to send this sandwich back to the kitchen, but when I look at it through the eyes of the Master Chef, I realize it is nourishing me in countless ways.
For one, I am learning patience. I thought after serving 27 years in the military and having three children and a workaholic husband, I knew all about patience. Wrong! When my 89-year-old Mom moved in with us, I quickly discovered there were all new levels of patience I had yet to explore. After a year, I still don’t have the get-ready-to-go-someplace routine down pat, which is why you need to politely smile at us when we come slogging into church late, yet again . . . occasionally without our teeth OR our hearing aids. On the other side of the sandwich, our 22-year-old-soon-to-be-college-graduate-daugther is planning her June wedding and that, too, has taught me patience (“You don’t like the first dress we bought?!”) AND gratitude.
Gratitude, you ask? How can I experience gratitude when money is going out the door faster than cowboys at a heavy metal concert? Well, my heart is filled with thanksgiving that our daughter understands and fully embraces the sanctity of marriage; that she has found a Godly young man who shares her values and loves her unconditionally; and that all of her collections of Barbies, Beanies, and books will eventually be taking up residence somewhere else. I am also thankful that my Mom has gotten to be part of the wedding planning process, adding her nearly nine decade’s worth of wisdom and practicality to the mix.
Not surprisingly, the Master Chef has spiced up my sandwich life with other nutritional tidbits beyond patience and gratitude. Yes, there also has been a squirt of humility, a pinch of compassion, a sprinkle of steadfastness, and a double measure of joy in all things.
If you find yourself as part of the sandwich generation, chow down, friend! Sit back and savor the meal. One day soon it will be but a memory, so enjoy the rich flavors while you can.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
- James 1:2-4
*Those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children and grandchildren.
By Sue Busler