Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: PICNIC - deadline 7-12-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/05/12)
TITLE: Treasured memories
By Ellen Carr
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It was perfect, a smooth, flat place, no breeze, warm and quiet. Susan rolled out the tartan picnic rug, set the basket in the middle and they sat down, two shiny-eyed little girls and their mother. They had the place to themselves, just them and their basket of goodies.
Unpacking the basket was half the fun. There were paper serviettes, plastic plates and tumblers, a bottle of cordial, then some square and some round containers, all with mysterious contents.
'Square ones first', instructed Susan. The girls' small hands helped open the square ones to reveal little vegemite sandwiches and and peanut butter ones too. There were carrot sticks, cheese cubes and sultanas, a veritable feast. Susan insisted that they leave the round containers unopened, for later. 'For a surprise,' she said.
Sitting cross-legged, serviettes on their laps, they tucked in and the food soon disappeared. Then it was time. The containers of secrets were opened to reveal the glorious second course of meringue mice and pink-iced cup cakes. The little girls' faces lit up and soon all that remained were sticky fingers and mouths, and a few left-over crumbs.
Susan wiped their hands and faces. Now for a relaxing rest on the rug. She pushed the basket off the rug and they lay down side by side, mother and her two little girls. It was the perfect end to a perfect picnic.
'Do you remember those picnics on our lounge room floor?' asked Mandy as the family sat around the dinner table. The extended family were all together for once, not an easy feat these days with their homes so far apart. 'They were wonderful, even though we were just sitting on a rug on the floor, in our own house!'
'Oh I loved those picnics,' said her sister Janelle, smiling as she remembered. 'It was pouring with rain and blowing a gale outside but we had a fabulous picnic, warm and snug inside. And I loved the picnics in the back yard and down at the local park. Mum, you did such fun things with us back then. They're wonderful memories.'
Susan smiled as she heard her grown-up children cherishing those memories. She did too. They conjured up warm feelings of cosy, family comfort. They were special memories indeed.
'I love those memories too,' she told her daughters. 'They bring a smile to my face and sometimes a tear to my eye.'
Just then little grandson,Tom, spilt his milk. Janelle rushed to clean up the mess and the conversation moved on to other things. But later that evening Susan remembered what her daughters had said. She knew those memories were precious and she thought about how important their shared memories were.
Alone, in her lounge-room, Susan was praying about what to say in the communion service next Sunday. Her thoughts drifted back to the lounge-room picnics and she smiled. Oh yes, she knew what to say. She would talk about the lounge-room picnics and those memories and then say:
'When things are tough or things aren't turning out the way we hoped they would, our special family memories become very precious. When homesickness strikes, those memories can bring us joy. And sometimes it is just a comfort to look back and enjoy the memories.
Our Lord knows that we need reminders of good things, and of the greatest thing he has done for us. He knows we need prompts to turn our minds to him and his fatherly love.
It was almost a picnic, the simple feast he set up for us to remember and celebrate his death and resurrection. The simple bread and wine take our hearts back to his rich love and forgiveness. Just as memories take us back to the warmth of shared family fun, the simple communion meal keeps us remembering God's grace to us.
Be sure to treasure your family memories and, even more, treasure God's grace as we remember it in his special picnic, our communion meal.'
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