Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Lettuce on the Floor

It all started with a piece of lettuce on the floor.

Last week I had a day. The kind of day that didn't go quite as expected. Life was harder than I had hoped for. It wasn't a horrible day. My children were safe, healthy, happy. My family, my home, my life was still full of blessings. But I was stuck in my head.

Have you had days like that? This was the type of day where one thing threw me all out of whack.

It's a problem that has been looming beneath the surface for years. Something I was told to take care of before I even knew for sure I was pregnant with Micah. That long.

It was easy to ignore. Most of the time.
It would have been an expense it never felt like we could afford.
Everyone and everything always comes before me, especially before this tiny little thing.

Until all of a sudden, it really didn't feel so tiny anymore. The cost easily 5x's more than I would have predicted.

And now this little thing I ignored felt huge.
Made me feel embarrassed
Self conscious

All of a sudden this issue was in my head. After years of ignoring it, the opposite was true. I was now plagued with obsession, worry and concern.

This thing was in my head. Stuck. Somewhere between "Woe me" and "stupid idiot."

The day was coming to a close, but my mind was still stuck in autopilot. I had to get my kids from daycare a lied behind my dried tears "What? No. I'm fine."  I said as I quickly whisked my kids out.

Dinner was served. Salads. Woe me. Rip lettuce, cut up lunch meat, sprinkle cheese, place plate on table. Stupid idiot. Get forks.

Have you been there? Or somewhere similar?

The kids were eating and I was milling around. Sick to my stomach with worry, frustration, anxiety over telling my husband, of how and when we would manage to get this taken care of, with mortification. Sick to my stomach I swept rice krispies, bread crumbs, old veggies and whatever else had managed to land on the floor in the last 24 hours.

When Micah saw my broom hit a piece of lettuce. His lettuce, from his salad, that had apparently fallen on the floor unnoticed. Until now. Until it was in danger of being swept up, and thrown away.

Micah began panicking.

Twisting and turning to try and get out of his seat. To get his lettuce. Crying "mine" and "more" intermittently. Stressing over what he thought should still be his.

I want you to picture this. He didn't just want the lettuce. He was anguished over it. One piece of lettuce. On the floor, about ready to be lost.

I reassured him repeatedly saying "Micah, it's fine. It's just one piece." But he couldn't hear me, he just wouldn't stop obsessing. "Micah!!!! Micah, stop. There is an entire plate of salad right here." I said pushing the plate closer to him. He wouldn't stop worrying about the lettuce I'd just put in the trash.

He wasn't even crying about the good stuff. The meat, the cheese, the dressing, that was all still on his plate. The only thing he was missing was one stinking piece of lettuce. Sure that has all the nutrients and it is in essence the "meat" of the meal, the healthy substance that sustains you. But it certainly isn't the best part. One piece surely wont be missed.

Finally, long after the lettuce had been thrown in the trash Micah picked up his fork again and ate another bite of dinner. Alligator tears still lurking in his eyes and working their way down his face.

Free to pick the broom back up I continued sweeping. All over one piece of lettuce. I marveled. You have an entire salad, and you were so concerned with one stinking piece of lettuce. 

Huh.  I cocked my head. Hadn't I just been doing the same thing? 








Yup. Basically the same thing. 

I'm not really sure what specifically the lettuce stands for in this metaphor. Life, health, money, blessings. Whether each piece of lettuce is it's own specific thing or a generalization of one of the above with cheese, dressing, and tomatoes each their own item on the list.

Perhaps the Lettuce is different for you than it is for me.

Realizing all of this, didn't solve my problem. I can't ignore the issue any longer and it wasn't magnificently lifted from my shoulders. However, it did give me a "checks and balances" reference. It's helping me to remember God's goodness and rich blessings (which I was doing anyway and may in fact be why this issue was brought to light now, the enemy's way of undoing what good I'm striving to do) even though I can still see the lettuce on the floor.

In the last week this memory has come to mind and helped me when I think I'm seeing more lettuce fall on the ground, but also helped me to see all that is on my plate. Reminding me that my salad is ever growing.

Micah's dinner was salad, cheese, meat and dressing, but my plate is so full and overflowing with salad, cheese, dressing and tomatoes, avocado, meat, bacon, cucumber, carrots, and on and on.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. ~~~Psalm 145: 8-9
I smile thinking about how the Lord handles me, so patiently, standing there, by my side, waiting for me to get it. Waiting for me to see something so simple. It's one piece of lettuce, one tiny little part of the overall salad, the salad that He has been preparing and giving to me all of my life. I dropped the lettuce on the ground, I screwed up, but God knew I would, He will comfort me through it, if and when I get out of my head.

If I pause long enough to hear: "the good stuff is still on your plate. It's just one piece of lettuce."

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? ~~ Matthew 6: 26-27

Do your children do that? Maybe it isn't over lettuce, but candy that's taken away, toys they don't have enough of, a stain or mark on their favorite ... or a boo boo on their leg.

Do you?

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