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The whole pie

I don’t eat a lot of pie—usually just three to four times a year. When I do, apple pie with vanilla ice cream and a cup of coffee is perfect. 

One of the special “pie times” for me is Thanksgiving. I have a special friend who is my “pie buddy.” We have known each other for twenty-plus years. When we first met, he invited me to lunch at his club. The food was outstanding, and the apple pie was something straight out of heaven’s kitchen. Truly unbelievable. 

Eventually, my friend moved thirty miles away. We still have lunch a few times a year. 

I always get the pie. 

More than a decade ago, my pie friend took it upon himself to make sure my family always has two pies for Thanksgiving! This has become a great tradition. He called ten days ago to confirm my pie order. Normally, I get one apple and one pecan. This year, I asked for two apple. 

It goes quickly. 

I can’t wait to pick up those pies on Wednesday and dive in. 

I can almost taste it now.

Why all this talk about apple pie? 

Because it’s connected to a great truth. My pie buddy and I have walked through some deep valleys over those twenty-plus years. We are broken people. He still considers me his friend and his pastor. I consider him a safe harbor in times of trouble. Over pie, we try to sort out our messes. Pie and conversation seem to make it better for both of us.

One time, over pie, my friend commented on the randomness of life. He said, “No one gets the whole pie.” 

His point? Life for all of us is a strange mixture of blessing and burden, beauty and brokenness. 

Even when you see someone who looks like they have “life by the tail,” the truth behind the smile is that they have some unique and often overwhelming burdens they are carrying. If you are fortunate enough to get close to them, you’ll find out that they didn’t get the whole pie either. 

As is often said, “We all have crosses to carry.” 

I think that statement misses the point many times, but you get the idea.

Human beings suffer from negativity bias. We see and feel the dark and painful, the things we lack, and the burdens we must carry more quickly than we see the blessings. I think that’s why the hymn writer instructed us to “Count your many blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” 

This is also a good reason to have Thanksgiving Day. 

It’s valuable to have a whole day on our calendar to remind us to be thankful. Every day ought to be that way, and certainly one day out of every seven when we go to worship.

A few years ago, I was pondering again my pie buddy’s axiom, “Nobody gets the whole pie.” 

I was prompted to add this corollary: “Nobody gets the whole pie. But don’t let that rob you of your slice.”

So, grab a slice of your favorite pie or cake or whatever. 

Pour some coffee. 

Sit down with a family member or friend. 

Talk about your mess if you need to.

Be sure to be thankful for the pie, for fellowship, for Christ, and for hope.

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” —1 Thessalonians 5:16–18