"We're in a Pickle!"

Monique is tutoring a couple of our grandsons these days who are staying home for instruction during this season of Covid-19. She is trying to partner with our local family of mom and dad educators who are spending their days not only teaching their classes by remote, but also in giving supervision and support to their home bound children schooling by the same technology. It is a trying time managing all of this! 

Mimi's Pickles!
There are a couple of familiar expressions we use when facing tough circumstances. One says, "We're between a rock and a hard place," and the other one that is a personal favorite says, "We're in a pickle!" 

I prefer the latter expression because it has a tragically humorous element to it. The Dutch phrase takes this dilemma literally as "sitting in the pickle!" So, like being in a jar full of pickles, it pictures how easily and seriously we can be swamped by the difficult situations or quandaries that we face in our daily lives. 

Our preschooler and the youngest under Mimi's tutelage, has come over to our house on occasions to be schooled. He likes the change of venue! It is obvious his attention span is short. He has some ways to go before we'll see any substantial stamina built-up for study! This means that he needs to be motivated or more accurately, bribed to get his work done! So, there is an expectation that he must finish his lessons before he can watch his favorite shows on Nickelodeon and eat a snack. This is the agreement and the reward!  Teachers refer to this as "incentivizing!" 

When it's time to return home, he has learned something over the years watching his siblings being rewarded in similar ways. We go down the hallway to the "junk food" pantry for another supervised visit. I regard this closet in this way because back when our kids were the age of our grand kids, they would invite their friends over to our house to play. When they saw our snack stash, they would always exclaim, "Hooray! Junk food!" I assumed their health-conscious parents would never allow them to eat things like they found in our pantry! 😉

As our grandson selected his favorite (and multiple items!) from the assortment of candies, cookies, chips, and brownies, he spied a large jar of dill pickles. He has had these with his grilled cheese on many lunches at Mimi and Poppi's. He loves them! Soon, I heard a little voice say, "I'll just take those pickles home with me!" Then, Monique adamantly said, "No sir! I'm not giving you my pickles!" I thought I would have to go down the hall to break that up! But, he seemed to take it rather well as he held fast to his baggies full of goodies and carried them out to the car! 

There may be several lessons in all of this...

  • How is your stamina during these Pandemic times? Can you sit down (stand up, get up, etc.) and manage to be productive or get something accomplished?
  • Are you rewarding yourself with a snack or two more often than usual? (Okay, I'm meddling!) But, are you eating healthy foods and keeping fit with a regular regimen of exercise? 
  • Junk food with moderation may not be too harmful, but are there some other "junk things" you are allowing to take over? Things not only you put into your mouth, but things that have taken up residence in your thoughts, emotions, heart or spirit?
  • When you get what you want, even if it is good for you, are you still acting sullen, pouting and disappointed? When is the last time you affirmed the goodness of God? (Psalm 118:1). Have you exclaimed lately, "This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!" (Ps.118:24).
Next time you find yourself "in a pickle," a situation or even an extended season of difficulty and disappointment causing frustration or fear, repeat this to yourself, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess. 5:17). 

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


  1. I am so glad that God has allowed grandparents to continue to be active participants in the needs of their children's lives via nurturing the grandchildren in so many ways...a "win win" for everyone!

    1. That's the way we see it! Better if we could get past the Covid!


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