Monday Memo: Sandwiched In

Terry Walton


Sandwiched In

I was thinking...

What is your favorite sandwich? My quick ‘go to’ sandwich is peanut butter and mayonnaise (don’t knock it until you try it). I love, especially this time of year, a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich or just a fresh from the garden, tomato sandwich. During my formative years, I enjoyed many bolognas or peanut butter with jelly sandwiches. My mom can make some tasty pimento cheese - that’s especially delicious on toasted bread. Is a hot dog in a bun a sandwich? There’s some debate on this. If it is a sandwich, then it would be one of my favorites. If it is not a sandwich, it is still one of my favorite meals.

What is your least favorite sandwich? I’m not one for a liverwurst sandwich. I generally ask for cheddar cheese on a sandwich not Swiss cheese, Swiss cheese has no taste to me, so why take up sandwich space with a non-tasting item? I do not enjoy a potted meat sandwich. Nor do I enjoy a cucumber sandwich. I do like pickles on a sandwich but not pickles that aren’t yet pickles - no cucumbers on a sandwich, please.

The “Sandwich Generation” is a different kind of sandwich. It is a sandwich that tastes bitter-sweet. The privilege of being parented by loving parents turns into a strange and unusual land when roles are reversed. And while at the same time still parenting children, or at least financially supporting young adult children. Those in the middle of this sandwich often feel pulled in many varied directions and find themselves stressed with concerns for both pieces of bread around them. It is sweet to have the privilege of parents and children, but having responsibility for decisions impacting them both at the same time can be challenging.

It can be even more difficult parenting parents if there have been less than healthy parenting skills brought to bear on one’s upbringing. Obligation is not the best motivator nor is pressure in the form of guilt or manipulation. Love and gratitude are the best motivators but when someone finds those motivators to be lost in the life shuffle, then it takes a higher power to enjoy the generation sandwich.

We do, at times, feel caught in the middle of stuff, don’t we? There are experiences of life that feel as if we’ve been invited to dinner only to find out that we are the main course. When this happens, it can make our head spin in such a way that dizziness is the most likely result. When we are dizzy, it is hard to see clearly to focus on the best path ahead. I have found that I, alone, cannot find my way out of a season of dizziness. Someone must throw me a lifeline, and that lifeline when received is a gift from God.

Matthew remembers and records these important words of Jesus, “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke (lifeline) and learn of me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.” (11:28-30 CEB)

In the Old Testament, promised “rest” was associated with the presence of God and with following the ancient paths established by God (Jeremiah 6:16). Jesus is both the presence of God and the interpreter of God’s heart. The opening of our lives and wills to Jesus brings “rest” beyond our expectations… a peace-filled rest.

The yoke on an animal both restrains and enables. It allows for productive work of the master who knows the direction and the fruit that can come forth. It may feel like a burden, but the yoke leads to possibilities beyond imagination. Therefore, I call this yoke a lifeline.

When sandwiched in the middle of life, there is a yoke for us to take upon ourselves. We either choose Jesus’ easy yoke that gives freedom, peace, and rest, or we take on some other yoke that destroys freedom, peace, and rest. The choice is ours.

Now, I’m on my way for another tomato sandwich while the season is ripe.

Always Thinking…

The Rev. Dr. Terry E. Walton
Executive Assistant to the Bishop 

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