Recently, on a trip to North Carolina I was able to stay in a swanky Holiday Inn Express. Now, before you say, “for real?”, let me say “yes, for real!” The amenities, for an “express” hotel were quite nice, and in fact in the process of being upgraded (see below, but don’t tell the hotel). The staff was stellar and worthy of some sort of Holiday Inn honor.
While the purpose for my trip, and subsequent trip there again just two weeks later wasn’t one of pleasure or joy, I was excited to be able to eat some hotel oatmeal and considered that a consolation prize for having to travel under such sad circumstances. At random points of the 9-10 hour journey I would whisper internally or say aloud, “all I want is some oatmeal”.
Much to my surprise the hotel oatmeal wasn’t the hot, fresh, gooey, delicious blend of prepared oats, milk, water, sugar, butter and more sugar that I expected. Instead, it was little individual “add water and go” Quaker containers of Maple and Brown Sugar or Apples and Cinnamon. While many members of my family thought both fix-it-yourself flavors were delightful neither fit my preference, even with the unlimited bacon or turkey sausage the hotel offered.
Just seconds before caving into dietary defeat, in the distance, my wandering eye spotted a contraption with a picture of a pancake. This new-fangled machine had “one minute” displayed prominently on it, and a button that said “push”. Immediately, I went into my rare engagement with cynicism, thinking there is no way something edible, let alone tasty, could come out of a machine in one minute, especially pancakes. Still, licking the wounds of my oatmeal disappointment I decided to push “push” and hope for the best. Babbbbbyyyyyy, the best is just what I got! Geeze Louise, Helen and Tom Willis! I was in hotcake Heaven! Those two pieces of hot batter that rolled off of that little conveyor belt of sorts were nothing short of pancake perfection. They were warm, (downright steamy actually), sweet, golden in color, fluffy, light, filling and, when topped with a dollop of fresh butter and maple-like syrup with that sweet sliced pig on the side, were just what I needed, even if they weren’t initially what I wanted. And to think, all I wanted was oatmeal.
So many times in my life I’ve had my sights set on something as the “be all, to end all” or “the best thing since slice bread for me”. So many times in my life, low and behold, God has better, more, different or all of the aforementioned in mind for me. I was reminded that settling is for Quakers. (Get it? As in Quaker Oatmeal or pilgrims…LOL! I crack myself up!)
God taught me a lesson that day and in the days/weeks to follow as I consumed a combined eight pancakes in two trips to North Carolina. Don’t judge. Just roll with me. Nothing against oatmeal, as I still absolutely adore it whether made at home or a hotel, but sometimes it’s time for an upgrade. I could have been afraid of that pancake machine. I could have sulked because I wanted oatmeal, and I really wanted oatmeal. I could have pouted because they did have oatmeal, but not to the caliber of my palate. I could settled and opted to eat what I knew I didn’t want (the heat and eat oatmeal), then been too full to enjoy those tasty flapjacks. I could have done a lot of things that I might have done when faced with literal situations in life that didn’t turn out the way I wanted. However, through hot, greasy, sweet, crispy bacon and pancakes, and in just one minute flat, the Lord reminded me that better, even in the form of hot batter and a bit of butter is ALWAYS my option.