Thursday, October 21, 2004

what's that on your plate?

If you would like a hard copy ‘bouquet’ of fresh flowers for yourself or someone you know click on ‘flower shop’.

A friend and I were talking the other day and discussing what was on our plates. She was telling me about how she was learning to be content with a small plate. This whole conversation got me to pondering my plate and plates in general. First of all I contemplated how when you’re trying to lose weight that you should use a smaller plate to help you psychologically (smaller portions on a smaller plate sort of thing). Then I thought about how people behave at buffet-type eating events. We all tend to take a little too much on our plates because we want to sample everything that’s there. Why do we do that? Is it because we’re fearful of perhaps missing something really good or maybe we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings that brought a certain dish? Then there is the competition that sometimes goes on between teen-age guys to see how many plates they can go through at the buffet, the more the better. Then there are the plate-spinners, decorative plates that exist to hang on walls or be displayed but never used, plates in the earth, plates in our heads and there are probably more plates that I haven’t thought of yet.
What my friend and I were talking about were those kinds of plates that we refer to when we’re talking about activities and what we choose to do with our time. I always thought that my plate must be pretty big because I always put so much on it. However, with the onset of many children, age, and business in our home I’ve found that there isn’t much room on my plate for things outside my four walls and perhaps it’s smaller than I previously thought. There are times when I get a little discontent with the contents of my ‘plate’ because there is such a smorgasbord of opportunities to sample from and I love variety. Maybe I’m fearful of missing out on something really good or disappointing someone who really wants me to try their thing. Or not.
Remember what I said about trying to get a little of everything at a buffet or potluck? Have you ever noticed that some dishes are great and everything you hoped for but that there are also quite a few that are kinda disappointing? The disappointment may come because you were expecting your mom’s potato salad but whoever made this puts something in there that you don’t quite like, or maybe it was supposed to be served hot but someone forgot to put it in the oven. Anyway, the other day we had a potluck thing at church, I fed my kids and made sure they were all taken care of and then went to get something for myself. There were many tasty looking dishes but I did something totally out of the ordinary – I ate soup. That’s it. Just soup, one kind only. I didn’t even try anything else. And it was so good. Nothing else competed for my tastebuds. I totally enjoyed my bowl of soup and was completely satisfied.
Back to my ‘plate’. God is showing me that I can be completely satisfied with the ‘little’ that is on my plate right now (which sometimes feels more like piled high and dripping off the sides). God’s smorgasbord of opportunities is constantly replenished, perfectly seasoned, always fresh, always the right temperature. When it is time to branch out and try something new again, there will be plenty of choices for me. I am continuing to learn to be a ‘one-thing’ person. The world tells me that I should try everything. At this point I believe God is telling me to savour this one dish. Even a bowl of soup is a multi-ingredient event, there’s lots of variety in every spoonful. My kids and I have learned a verse together from Colossians 1:16, “For I have learned to be content with whatever I have.” I’m learning to be content with the content of my plate. I hope you will, too.

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