59. More Than A Tray…


There it was. I’d been searching for just the right serving tray for our kitchen. I found it unexpectedly one day a few weeks ago at an antiques store three blocks from work on my lunch hour.

I had no idea an old tray would become a lesson in love.

I went home that night and told Hubby about it. Since it was an antique of a known brand, he researched it with me to check on pricing. OF COURSE it was way overpriced at the store. We talked and since he had a free day coming up the next day, he promised to go check it out. I gave him PRECISE directions on where to locate it, and as we were both familiar with the store, it seemed to be no problem.

I was wrong.


When he picked me up from work that evening, I excitedly asked him all about it. Did you find it? Did you like it? Do you think they’ll negotiate? What do you think? The only response I got was, “I couldn’t find it. It was gone.”

I was bummed.

After two years of looking and wishing, the only tray I had found that worked had slipped through my fingers. I had waited a day too long! What was that adage from “American Pickers”? Oh yes. “When you see it, buy it.” I hadn’t and I didn’t. Sigh.


The next week I had some more free time on my lunch hour since Hubby again had a day off and the car, so I decided to cruise over to that same antiques store again. I walked over to the section where the tray had been.

Guess what? THERE IT WAS, exactly where I had told Hubby it was!!!!! It was even in the same position I had left it in after I picked it up to examine it the week before. Grumbling uncharitably about “dumb men who couldn’t follow directions,” and “if you really want something you have to do it yourself,” and other things I probably shouldn’t publish online, I took the tray up to the counter and requested a negotiation with the booth owner.

I put in my offer, asked them to hold the tray, and call me when the owner got back to them on my offer. Within an hour of my returning to work, they called me back. The owner had accepted.  I told them I’d be in tomorrow to pay for it. No problem.

That night after dinner, I gleefully told Hubby about my acquisition. He looked like he just ate something that made him sick, which struck me as curious, but when I asked if he was all right, he said, “I’m fine” and went back to his normal self.


The next morning I joined Hubby on the patio for our pre-work coffee ritual. We’ve purposely built in about twenty-five minutes into our schedule to have coffee together every day, just because.

I rubbed my eyes as I approached the table. Instead of just our usual french press and cups, all the coffee things were on the table in THE TRAY! MY tray, the one I had set aside at the antiques store yesterday.

Blinking, I opened my mouth to ask “How,” but before I could get a word out, Hubby said, “You sure don’t make things easy, do you? Let me tell you the story about the tray.” I stood there gaping speechless for a moment (no easy feat, mind you), then launched myself at him for an ecstatic hug, then sat down all ears and sipping coffee.

He explained how he, too, had decided to go into that antiques store yesterday to get that tray, without knowing I was headed there too. He had been in the week before—when he said he couldn’t find it—and decided to get it for me, as a birthday surprise.  When he walked in and the tray was gone, he said his heart sank. He went to the counter to inquire, but they told him, “It sold, just today. In fact she hasn’t picked it up yet.” He asked, “She? Is she tall with short blond hair and bright blue eyes?” They looked at him as if he were a stalker but said, “Yes. That’s her.”  And he said, “That’s my wife. I’m trying to buy that tray for her.”

Of course they didn’t believe him until he gave them my name, which was on the tray, and showed his ID and verified that he wasn’t some crazy out to do me harm. So he purchased the tray and served me coffee in it the next morning.

AND struck me speechless with joy.


The first lesson I was reminded of is how well my husband and I do together. This is not the first episode where we are thinking the same thing at the same time, with the same purpose, and surprise the other. But I have to say it’s a been a while, and I think I had almost forgotten that. He gets me—and LIKES ME, and that is also no easy feat. It’s one of the many reasons I love him so much. This tray episode was SUCH a good reminder. 

The second lesson I learned is that what sometimes appears to be indifference can actually be a gift in the making. And I’m not just talking about with my husband.

I’m talking about with God. Often we ask for things—legitimate, good things, and we get what appears to be indifference from God. No good answer. We believe we are going to go with out that “thing” we want so much and so embark on a plan to obtain it for ourselves. We get angry, or irritated, and mutter in our hearts and minds how God can’t be trusted; if you want something you need to do it on your own. At least I know I do.

I’m sure you know the routine.

But just like my husband is a good husband, who loves me, wants to do kind things for me, and in fact DOES do them, but on his time table for maximum enjoyment for me, so does God.

Sometimes, what appears to be indifference on God’s part is him actually setting up what we want on such a grander scale than we even imagined, in a way that is so much more satisfying and surprising for us for our maximum enjoyment.

But often, just like I tried to do with the tray, we take matters into our own hands. We end up with what we want, but the effort to get it or achieve it takes much of the enjoyment out of it. It becomes a grim undertaking, with little of the desired satisfaction.


I have to tell you, I enjoy my tray so much more because my husband planned and surprised me with it. Instead of it being just another nice piece that looks and functions how I wanted it to, it is now a part of our story. Our LOVE story.

When I use that tray, I smile as I place the coffee things in it, remembering how Hubby presented it to me. In fact, I’ll never forget. It is a part of US now, a cherished reminder of his love for me. How I use it will be a reminder of my love for him.

And that is how God wants it too, I think. He so wants to give us the things we want, but in a way that it becomes a part of our story with Him. His LOVE story with us. He wants us to smile at those parts of our lives we let Him develop in a “just so” way, for our maximum enjoyment and the healing and betterment of the world.

He is good like that, you know.

Remember dear readers: All you need is Love!

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