Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Daily Bread

I woke up this morning with an odd image on my mind; I assume it came to me in one of my dreams. It is the face of a child, a boy, holding and staring at a large lollipop. He is clearly pleased with his possession, but there is something else happening as well. His gaze is both on the lollipop and beyond it. He is deciding whether to eat the sweet treat now or save it for some other time. If he eats it now, then the next few minutes will be the happiest and sweetest of the day. If he saves it for later, then he will have something to look forward to. If he eats it now, then what will he eat later? If he saves it for later, then what will he eat now?

I think it odd that the face in my dream is that of a little boy because I often struggle with that lollipop dilemma. I will buy a dark chocolate bar with almonds (one of my favorite sweet treats) and save it for weeks before beginning to eat it, small square by small square. I will buy a box of mints at the cash register at Trader Joe's and not eat it for months. I will buy clothing and not wear it for unreasonably long stretches of time. Pens and journals are safely held in my study closet stash far too long.

If I eat it now, if I use it now, if I enjoy it now,
then will there be enough later?

For a brief stretch of time a few years ago, I read about and began to plan a way to purchase and store enough food in my house to last us a year - just in case we lost our income or there was a shortage of food or an earthquake or ... Kind of like a doomsday prepper, but without the guns, ammunition, gas masks, and bomb shelter. I looked at websites and scrolled through impossibly long lists of how much and how many of each item we would need. I looked around my house for places to store the items. I tried to decide which kinds of grains and beans and condiments and hygiene products could last a year. I even thought about starting a vegetable garden in our backyard.  Yes, me - the chick who would rather be in a doctor's office drinking a radioactive drink awaiting a bone scan than digging in the dirt where I might touch a WORM or encounter a SNAKE!!!

Then I remembered: Give us this day our daily bread.
Then I remembered: Do not worry about tomorrow, what you will eat or drink or what you will wear.
Then I remembered: I could never keep a year's worth of food in my house, providing only for my family, if my neighbors were hungry, if my friends were hungry.

We started eating through the stash of canned beans and bags of rice and boxes of Quaker Oatmeal Squares that no one in my family knew I was creating. I brought some of my hidden chocolate bars into the kitchen so that my family could enjoy my hidden treasures - some of them, not all of them. I tore the tags off the unworn clothing and started wearing it - joyfully and gratefully.

But more than that, I laid my fearful heart open in my journal and in prayer. I asked for the courage to enjoy this life in this moment and not worry about the future. I have always been provided for. I asked for the willingness to share with others from the abundance that we have received. Others have shared so much with me. And even more have far deeper and more chronic needs than I have ever experienced. I asked for the ability to recognize when the inclination towards saving and planning leans over into hoarding and worrying. I asked to be able to give more away as my worry increased. I asked to regularly be reminded that --> All has always been well. All is well. All shall be well.

There may yet come a time when our cupboards are bare, our refrigerator is empty, and perhaps even our electricity is off. God knows and I know that billions of people on our planet live on far too little far too long. That may be in our future as well.

But on this cool Sunday morning, in this house, on this quiet street, I have been provided with my daily bread - and my daily tea, my daily green juice, my daily eggs, my daily cereal, my daily salad, and my daily clementines. My cup and my cupboard and my closest and my chocolate stash runneth over.

Thanks be to God.

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