Sunday, July 10, 2011

What Is Nothing?

I recently found myself opening my refrigerator...

staring inside at this...

and muttering in disappointment...

"There's nothing to eat."

No yogurt, chicken, apples, or milk. No yummy leftovers or enticing ingredients for a fresh, delicious dinner.

Nope, nothing to eat. In fact, those words had escaped my lips several times in the past few days. We were overdue for a trip to Costco and the grocery store. And each time I flung open that stainless steel door and glanced over those white plastic shelves, my desire for something convenient to satisfy my current culinary craving grew...along with my discontentment.

As I stood there this last time, (listening to the low mechanical hum, enjoying a few moments with my personal air conditioner, and  mildly imagining that if I waited long enough a teriyaki chicken bowl or slice of boysenberry pie might magically appear,) three simple words surfaced in my mind asking me the question...

What is nothing?

I refocused my eyes on the refrigeration landscape before me, and this time a new picture emerged.

A dozen eggs. A large jar of applesauce. Brown rice and corn tortillas. An unopened block of Tillamook cheddar cheese. Pasta sauce and peanut butter and Rosarita pinto beans.

Do I really believe that is "nothing"?

Instantly, my greedy heart was filled with remorse. How can I be so ungrateful? Men and women and children all over this wide world live with the piercing pangs of hunger. Thousands die every day...and not because they didn't have a convenient snack. Nothing to them means starvation, a slow and painful death.

Yet, I have been given SO much!

(This little picture doesn't even include the frozen veggies and fish fillets in the back of my freezer, or the four half-eaten boxes of cereal in the cupboard. Nor the plethora of canned beans in the pantry or the dozens of other edible, nutritional items filling my "empty" kitchen shelves. And my lack of MORE food has nothing to do with access or funds...just a lack of time to buy it.)

"There's nothing to eat." It rolls off the tongue so casually, so flippantly. And I'm guessing I'm not the only one who says it. We all do it. If not about our food, about our fashion. "I have nothing to wear." If not about our fashion, about our job or bank account or family or house.

The subtle grumblings that slip out of our mouths are a telling indication of the ingratitude in our hearts.

When I say, "There's nothing to eat...I have nothing to wear..."

I'm really saying,..

"God, your gifts aren't good enough.
God, your provisions are imperfect.
If it were up to me, Lord, I'd do a better job."

Lord Jesus, please forgive my ungratefulness. Thank you for the bounty of blessings you have poured out on me. Please increase my awareness of these small ways I allow discontentment to creep into my heart. I know it grieves you in a big way. Grow in me a heart of gratitude, that others might see thankfulness in my attitude and actions, and in so doing, that they might see more of You.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

I love that you posted this. Over the past year or so, I've realized similar things. There is almost always something there to eat, it just takes a little more work to think about how to use it or to prepare it. And I'm lazy and don't want to do the work. So, the problem isn't with the elements there, but my willingness to think and work.
Also true, as you point out, with clothing and other things. I can mend or alter or creatively combine--but that too takes work and I want things easy and fast.
I really have thought about this extensively over the past while, because it's been an important lesson that God has been teaching me. Now, reading your post and actually writing a little of what I've been learning, I realize something even bigger.
The same is true of SO much more--relationships, educational opportunities, exercise opportunities, spiritual promptings, etc. There's a lot more there than I recognize. No, it's not always quick and easy; but God works and he expects us to as well.
So, here's what I'm going to try to think about as I look into my fridge and cupboards: gratitude for what I do have and the blessing that it is to be able to work!

p.s. That cheese looks amazing! I want some now. :)