Food for Thought

A colleague sent me a short meditation a few weeks ago that reminded me to be joyful in my tasks, particularly in the ones I’d chosen. For example, I love to fly, but why do I complain when I get bumped from a flight. I like the four hundred dollars and the upgrades the airlines give me in exchange for their arrogance. Without question, it’s become more and more of a common complaint. But I’m moved to offer that there’s always Greyhound. Good luck with that. Then often we hear persons bemoaning the deadlines of jobs they initially sought, and that now come home to roost atop the dirty laundry. Thus there’s an exhausted sigh as a decision is made: Thaw the steak still in the freezer, or pizza delivery versus scrambled eggs for dinner. Personally I’d go for the pizza – pepperoni, please.

So last weekend, Southwest Airlines (with a touch of drama) brought my daughter home from Nevada for a whirlwind visit. She asked that I arrange a dinner event and invite interesting guests: easy to do in Columbia County. So that problem was solved. However, those who know me well could easily have guessed that I would insist upon doing all the cooking myself. Thank goodness someone sane stepped in to prepare a lovely cabbage salad to accompany my two main courses, and a fruit bowl to accompany my dessert offerings. Did I happen to mention that I’m especially fond of homemade lemonade and zest? I mostly have simple old-fashioned kitchen utensils, so it’s my preference to grate and juice by hand. Two large jugs seemed like enough for sixteen people. I was also on a roll with the Serenity of Knowing and was not willing to cut back on the progress I was so proud of. Whew!

Subsequently I am now caused to wonder if my having been so frazzled for much of my life resulted from choices of my own design.

This time, because of my colleague’s reminder, I was able to just take a deep breath in advance of all the work that lay before me. I decided that there would be no whining, even as I dropped a pot of rice on the floor and had to start over again. “Oh well,” became my mantra throughout. It was therefore a joy to discover that I can still pull all-nighters. I was finally satisfied with my modest culinary efforts, and still managed to soar past the three thousand-page milestone in the transcribing of the King James Bible.

It is true that I slept quite soundly on that Sunday night, made all the better because my daughter (whom I adore) has become a very savvy flier, and I choose to no longer fret over her own run-ins with Southwest Airlines. Hey! She’s a big girl now.

As for me, I’ve written myself comfortably through many of the pages in The Book of John. I smile as I navigate those chapters and verses, reminiscing with joy over this recent social event that I could have chosen to make all too stressful, but didn’t. The best part, after the fellowship, was that everyone chose to take home some food. Sorry guys, no leftovers. Order pizza.

As published in the November 2012 issue of "St. Peter's Press," the monthly newsletter of St. Peter's Presbyterian Church in Spencertown, New York. With the Old Testament now complete, the New Testament begins. He is now in the writings of John, having finished Matthew and Mark and Luke.