I ran into the kitchen -- my tired body trying to keep up -- and started to prep dinner. After I got through the initial what on earth should we have for dinner portion I set into my work. Grabbing a red bell pepper from the fridge I proceeded to cut it into thin strips perfect for stir-frying.
Can I help cut the pepper, momma?
It was Grace. Sweet, tender ten year old Grace standing besides me asking to cut that red pepper I was racing to chop.
No, no, no Gracie. I have to get dinner made quick. Everyone is hungry.
She looked at me and pleaded with me with her expressive eyes hoping for an opportunity to help out. To be there besides me preparing dinner -- cutting a pepper.
Please? I can cut it really nice. Please can I help cut the peppers?
Above my sink is a little red frame with two words handwritten in it by my oldest daughter Hannah. She wrote it shortly after Samuel was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Live Intentional. Simple words reminding me of the importance of life and the everyday. What would matter more? That we ate at 6:15 sharp? Or that the heart of my willing and eager to serve daughter was met? I knew immediately what I was to do.
Okay, Gracie-girl, you can cut the pepper.
Immediately her posture changed as she embraced her task -- finding a small knife she painstakingly sliced the thick red pepper. Thicker than I would have done, but that, that detail didn't really matter anymore. I could hear her humming as she helped prepare the meal, beside me. She grabbed an onion and slowly did the same thing. Cut, cut, cut. And gradually a pile of vegetables began to form on our worn cutting board.
I could have done it all.
We could have ate our dinner, eating the thinly sliced peppers and moved onward. But, it would have been different. Instead it was intentional living. Looking for the joy that slicing a red pepper brings to my ten year old. It could have been missed, lost, gone leaving in it's dust a servant's heart in a little girl ignored.
We sat around the table with plates heaping with quinoa and chicken, red peppers, and onions. We sat there in the fellowship of family watching the sun fade into the horizon. As the last bit of autumn sky turned to darkness Todd casually remarked that the dinner was great. Sweet Grace looked up with a grinning face and whispered:
I cut the pepper, daddy. I did that.
Let them cut the peppers.