Tender Mercies and Cheese

It was Wednesday, grocery shopping day. I should have written my grocery list on Tuesday, but other projects had come first. Composing grocery lists takes me some time; I find satisfaction in offering my family a well-rounded variety of nutritious dinners, and take pains to plan such in detail. In other words, I get bored easily, and can’t stand vain repetition of meals. So I strategically rotate meats, starches, and vegetables in recipes of various ethnicities. This Wednesday, time was running short, and I had only come up with six dinners for the upcoming week. None of my many recipes seemed right for that night. Just one idea came to mind.

“Fine,” I thought. “Tonight we’ll have macaroni and cheese.”

I make pretty good macaroni and cheese, and I knew it would be popular among the younger members of the family. Still, the choice seemed like a cop-out. Dull. Uninspired.

Far from uninspired, it turned out to be just what we needed.

After the shopping was done and the groceries put away, I set out on my afternoon rounds. I brought one son home from band practice, then took another son to soccer practice. There was plenty of time to have dinner ready before my husband brought the soccer player home. I walked in the house, and the remaining boys stepped guiltily away from the computers. They made small talk for a minute. Then one said to the other, “Are you going to tell her about the phone call?”

“Oh, yeah. Dad had an accident. He’s not hurt . . .”

But he needed me to bring him home. So I drove away again. I was grateful that my husband was safe, glad that I could help. But it did take some time. Soccer practice finished while he communicated with the insurance company. Off I went again.

Somewhere in the midst of all the driving, someone asked, “So, what’s for dinner?”

“Macaroni and cheese,” I announced confidently. And, though I started it later than I had expected to, I was able to serve my family a quick, easy, and comforting dinner.

Was I actually inspired to fix macaroni and cheese? Did it really matter? If I had planned a more elaborate menu, I would probably have cooked macaroni and cheese that night anyway. But I might have felt frustrated about changing my plan. Or maybe dinner would have been really late. We’ve survived that before. I don’t think that choosing something else would have changed my eternal destiny.

However, the spiritual nudge to plan that meal for that night helped comfort me and my family during a time of extra stress. I am grateful that our Heavenly Father cares about the small events of which our lives are really made.

The Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, the Lord suits “his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men” (D&C 46:15).  (David A. Bednar, April 2005)

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Teresa G. Osgood stews over her grocery list and counts her many blessings in the Pacific Northwest.  You can read her more creative compositions at T’s Subplot




Photo by Steve Snodgrass

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