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A pie-worthy life


The Life Less Traveled


November 21, 2012
Last month, I had to say "goodbye for now" to one of my all-time favorite people, my Mamaw Ferris, my grandmother on my dad's side of the family. At the funeral visitation, I asked as many people as I could what was the first thing that came to mind when they thought of her, and the overwhelming answer by far was pie. Coconut cream. Apple. Chocolate. Custard. Rhubarb. Everyone had a different favorite because she cooked so many of them so well.

OK, think about that for a minute. You live almost 88 years of a rich, full life and the single word that comes to mind when most of your family thinks of you is pie? All I have to say is, "Life well lived!"

Seriously, what can be better than pie? There's a lot of great stuff packed in that delicious, three-letter word. Pies remind us of family gatherings and celebrations. They remind us of joy and laughter and fun. They remind us of the sweetest things in life.

All of those things remind me of my mawaw. She was the closest thing to Mrs. Claus as I could imagine. She loved her family, loved the holidays and loved to cook. She was jolly and kind and, I'm not kidding you, had a genuine twinkle in her eye.

She lived a sweet life, and, like everything else she made, it had all the best ingredients: kindness, goodness, generosity, patience, playfulness and laughter. But the best ingredient of all is that she had a love for Jesus in her heart, and that was truly the secret spice that made her life so rich. He was that twinkle in her eye.

Psalms 34:8 says to taste and see that the Lord is good. Jesus said that He came so we could have life and have it to the full. The last time I sat down to eat with Mamaw was this summer, and, at 87 years old, not only did she go for the pie, but she went back for seconds. She lived a full life, both inside and out. Now, she is not only tasting of God's goodness, but feasting on it.

As I sit down to eat Thankgsiving dinner this year, I plan to eat some pie in her honor and to think about what it means to live a life as sweet as hers. When I'm tempted to be petty, self-pitying or critical, I hope I'll choose a pie-worthy life instead.

What will be the first thing people will remember when you and I are gone? I've learned from my mamaw's example, that with God's help, that choice is totally up to us. We can choose to be sour, cynical and selfish or we can let God's love sweeten our character so that everyone we meet can taste and see that the Lord is good.

This Thanksgiving I choose pie.

Jason Byerly, a 1990 graduate of Crawford County Junior-Senior High School, is the children's pastor at Southland Christian Church near Lexington, Ky. He and his wife have two daughters. For more, visit www.jasonbyerly.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/jasondbyerly.

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