A Silver Lining Day

By Diane Stark

A Silver Lining Day

It hadn’t been a great day. I’d woken up that morning with a plan, but nothing had worked out the way it was supposed to. I’d made plans to meet a friend for coffee, but I’d had to cancel when the school nurse called and asked me to pick up my son from school. I’d planned to run errands, but a repairman called to make sure I’d be home to let him in the house. He gave me the dreaded four-hour window, and at the end of it, he still hadn’t shown up. When he finally arrived, he didn’t have the right part and he promised to return “sometime” the following day. Sigh.

My children got home from school, and I’d planned to clean the kitchen while they did their homework. They didn’t have any; so instead, they convinced me to play a game with them. Then we made cookies, which definitely didn’t make my kitchen any cleaner.

The day had been full of frustrations, and by the time we sat down to dinner, I was ready for some quiet time, hopefully with a novel and some kind of chocolate.

I tried to shake off my sour mood as the kids joined me at the table. I smiled at my five-year-old son and asked, “Nathan, would you like to pray over our dinner?”

He looked at the table and frowned. “I like this chicken, but where is the bread I like? You said you were making that too.”

“I made it, Honey. It’s still in the oven.” I glanced at the kitchen timer. “It will be ready in three minutes, so go ahead and pray and then I’ll grab the bread.”

Nathan nodded, satisfied that I’d prepared his favorites. He folded his hands and bowed his head. “Dear Lord, thank You for this day and thank You for my family. Thank You for Mommy, and Daddy, and my brothers and sisters, and Grandma and Grandpa. Thank You for my school and my teachers and for each friend in my class.”

As Nathan began to list each child in his class, I realized I’d made a mistake. The timer was about to go off, and Nathan wasn’t done praying. The bread should be fine for an extra minute or so, I thought.

But three minutes later, Nathan was still thanking God for the trees and the flowers and the grass. He’s going to be so upset if his favorite bread is burned, I thought. Quietly, I got up and went into the kitchen. I was pulling the bread from the oven when I heard Nathan say, “Mommy, what are you doing? I’m still talking to God.”

I shrugged helplessly. “The timer went off, and I didn’t want the bread to burn.”

“But I’m still thanking God for the good things He gives us,” he said, the accusation clear in his voice.

“I’m sorry, Honey. And you’re right. Thanking God is very important.”

“Then why did you stop praying and get up?”

“Mom got up, but she didn’t stop praying,” my 11-year-old daughter, Julia, said. “She was still listening, even while she got the bread.”

Nathan thought for a minute and then smiled. “OK, that sounds all right.”

I smiled; glad I was forgiven for my misstep.

After we ate, I asked Julia if we could talk. When we were alone, I thanked her for her quick intervention at dinner. “I’m so glad you spoke up,” I said. “You really helped Nathan understand.”

She grinned. “You’re welcome, Mom. Glad I could help.”

I returned her smile. “Most days, I think you and your siblings are teaching me more than I’m teaching you.”

I expected her to laugh, but instead, Julia grew quiet. After a minute, she said, “Did you notice anything different about Nathan’s prayer?”

“Other than the length of it?” I said with a chuckle. “It just went on and on and on.”

Julia shook her head. “Mom, he didn’t ask God for anything. He prayed for that long, and he didn’t ask God for a single thing. All he did was thank Him.”

I realized that Julia was right. My young son was so thankful for every blessing in his life that I nearly burned the bread while waiting for him to finish listing them.

It made me think about my own attitude. I thought back on my less-than-stellar day and realized that there had been some good things.

Yes, I’d missed my coffee date to pick up a sick kid from school. But thankfully, his illness wasn’t serious, and we’d been able to grab some breakfast on our way home. I have five children, so one-on-one time is rare. My son and I had a great conversation during breakfast, and I enjoyed our time together. Hello, silver lining.

I didn’t get my errands done because I spent all day waiting on the repairman. But I did make some progress on a writing project that had been on the back burner for way too long. And it looked as though I’d be stuck at home again the following day. More writing time – another silver lining.

I played a game and made cookies with the kids instead of cleaning my kitchen. The bad news is that my kitchen stayed dirty. The silver lining? Some really terrific cookies and a fun time with my kids.

When Nathan prays, he thanks God for everything under the sun. When I pray, I thank Him for kids who teach me to see the silver linings, even on the cloudiest of days.

About this writer

  • Diane Stark Diane Stark is a wife and mom of five. She loves to write about her family and her faith. Her essays have been published in over 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

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2 Responses to “A Silver Lining Day”

  1. Erika Hoffman says:

    You have a knack for taking the simplest events, observing them closely, relating them descriptively and delivering a message worth remembering. I see why you are so successful placing your stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies and others. You are skilled.

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