Imagine this: sat before you on your breakfast table is a bowl of warm oatmeal. It’s typical to you. You know before you take a bite what it’s going to taste like. How the mushy texture will touch your tongue and make its way down your esophagus to settle nicely into what will soon be your bloated belly. You sit and stare at it, knowing it will fill you up temporarily until the next meal. Not exactly thrilling your soul with every mechanical bite. I mean, after all, it’s oatmeal.
Instead you embrace the challenge and head to the pantry.
You add a dash of cinnamon.
A clump of butter.
A shaking of brown sugar.
A sprinkling of almonds.
Stir, stir, stir!
And bam! with the help of many also ordinary items together making a delicious, memorable, delectable taste that you want to bottle up and sell on Shark Tank. Oatmeal is oatmeal, it’s the pieces that you add to it that make it sweeter.
Do you ever wake up feeling like – here we go again? Another day to get through.
I would imagine a lot of people feel this way, especially tired moms. Like Molesley last night on Downton, some days it feels like you’re a struggling teacher with a rowdy class WHO IS NOT LISTENING TO YOU and all of you are just waiting for the bell to ring so you can move on.
Some days can be like a bowl of oatmeal when you first wake up. You know what it looks like. You know what to expect.
But you can’t always account for the sweet toppings that are to come. Some things just come to you, but sometimes you have to get up, walk over to the pantry, and find that cinnamon yourself.
Ordinary made sweeter can look like:
- When we find an abandoned ‘struction site.
Or pass one on the street. Never in my life did I imagine knowing the names of all heavy machinery or that it would be the hottest topic in children’s books.
- When we run into a friend at the grocery store.
- When story time is compelling enough for your children to sit and listen.
- When I see other wild children running amuck – AND THEY’RE NOT MINE. This makes me feel more normal.
- When the sun is shining in February and you get that sweet taste of spring.
- When work is fulfilling.
- When you share a kind word with someone.
- When you can breathe in and out — and the people you love the most can do the same.
The days can become ordinary and bland when we lose sight of the importance and value in each one. We can easily start throwing some sardines into the oatmeal when we let bitterness linger. We toss some soured milk into the bowl when we start comparing our lives to someone else’s. We start resenting the oatmeal we have when we stir harder hoping it turns into a bowl of bacon like Beatrice’s down the street. We can take our spoon and keep stirring… and stirring … and stirring… simply keeping the oatmeal bland instead of getting up and grabbing the brown sugar ourselves.
But here’s my point. The oatmeal is enough. In it of itself, it is substantial and delicious. It’s a gift to have a meal and a warm breakfast that satisfies hunger. And so it is with life, it is a gift and one that was given to you by a sweet Creator. The life that God has given you is enough.
- Reading God’s word (and hearing it from the perspective in Jesus Calling – so good!). This one never gets old. Or bland. When I start my day here the trajectory of the ordinary changes so quickly it’s like I missed it. There is nothing more amazing to me than the life-giving words and work of Jesus Christ. Perhaps you find the Bible to be not for you or you know it so well, you’ve given it a break. I encourage all of us – Christians and Non-Christians alike – to try to read a little a day. Maybe even more so this Lenten season. Start in the Psalms, or John or 1st John. Read a few verses and give it a chance to sweeten your soul.
There is nothing ordinary about life. It’s full of people, experience and opportunities to live and grow – and at its core, all you have to do is breathe to reap its benefits.
Remaining unchallenged, my favorite movie is Dan In Real Life – and from it I hold on to one of my most favorite quotes:
“Plan to be surprised.”
Life is full of glorious opportunities to live and serve one another, try new things, utilize your gifts and strengths in new ways each day. A sweet Creator, full of grace and mercy sustains our breath which means you have a new day to add some berries into your bowl.
GO STIR THAT OATMEAL!