I remember going to my first fine dining restaurant. The place was beautifully decorated, gentle jazz piano music played quietly in the room, I felt awkward to be in such a fancy place.
The waiter gave me the menu and I was stunned by the prices. I went to read the description of each dish expecting there to be a plethora of food for how expensive everything was.
Instead, the descriptions were listing only three or four basic ingredients.
I ordered carefully, hoping to find something filling, but it all seemed too simple. I was hungry and wanted to dive into a big plate of deliciousness.
When they brought the food out, (this was before the Food Network) I was taken aback seeing the plate with three tiny portions of food.
All I could think was how hungry I was and that this was not going to be enough. I could easily see what each item was and even though it was small, it looked rather beautiful.
I could easily see what each item was and even though it was small, it did look rather beautiful.
I found myself puzzled on how to attack my food. I couldn’t gobble it down because I couldn’t afford another order to go on the tab.
So I did what I wasn’t used to doing, I ate slowly. I savored each and every bite. The food was simple and exquisite. Because the portions were smaller so we took our time and actually talked. The pace of the night slowed down and it was an experience to remember.
Like Burger King’s old slogan, “Have it your way,” we expect things in life to be fast, our way, and a lot of times we end up feasting on filler that leaves us sick and wanting more. Sure it didn’t cost as much but did we really enjoy things or just move on to the next moment.
I am not just talking about food, but our schedules.
It’s a constant pull to divvy up our precious time.
When did success become about quantity versus quality?
Are we and our kids really getting better by getting more?
Life nowadays feels like an all you can eat buffet. Sports, school, church, house chores, classes, grocery shopping, volunteering, etc… Like a buffet as you heap each spoonful it quickly adds up and when you sit down to eat what you have committed to, it just loses its appeal. With every bite you take, you can’t really appreciate each dish/activity as it all becomes too much, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.
After being sick for so long, I had been watching on the sidelines and I couldn’t wait to “load up my plate.” Instead of starting out with a couple of good basic schedule commitments, I loaded up our schedule and didn’t take into account how much energy we would need to exert. Before I knew it, we were burning out. We were racing from one thing to the next, not being able to be fully present in our moments because there was so much to do.
In a world where busy is associated with productive, it’s hard to find that healthy balance. We want to be involved in everything to get the most out of life, but then feel utterly drained and pulled as we hurry from one thing to the next.
In reality, we were all made run our own races. Each person’s pace will look different than another. I have had friends do missionary work where they come back finding out that the poorest of poor people are tightly in community and they feel bad for us because we are a slave to our things,time, and the need for approval. We are trained to do it all on our own rather than slow down and enjoy life and the people around us.
I find myself this summer prayerfully asking, what is it I am called to do?
I hate the thought of saying no to other experiences, but I am reminded of the decadent simple meal that I had at that restaurant. It was simple, basic, and sustaining. I didn’t feel sick afterwards, just refreshed.
So I feel like G-d is giving me a fresh plate and giving me the choices on what I am going to fill up on.
It’s time to simplify and enjoy my life again while asking simple questions.
What will help feed and strengthen us?
What will help bring stress relief?
What joy can we bring to others in the time that we do have?
How can we be readily available for what G-d has called us to do?.
We need to be healthy to help others, even if that means doing less.
Less really is more, because we can fully enjoy our experiences around us rather than be running ourselves ragged.
I don’t want to have it all. I just want what G-d says is best for me. He doesn’t just suggest us to rest, He actually commands us to take a Sabbath each week. He also encourages us to trust that what He has for us is more than enough.
Just some food for thought…