Thursday, June 30, 2011

Food & the Purpose of Life

Sometimes I live my life in a perpetual state of wondering what the next meal holds.  Most times when we have visitors at my house I spend almost the entire time prepping for a meal, making a meal, doing dishes from the meal, etc. 

Sometimes life feels like it revolves around the simple act of eating.  (I know my friend Becki can relate to this but in a much more real way as she helps her young daughter learn how to eat:  Now that we are home, we are keeping up the schedule of 3 meals and 3 snacks a day (eating every 2-3 hours) with each feeding session lasting ideally 20-30 minutes, but right now sometimes up to an hour since Aubrey is a slow eater.  This is pretty intense, as you can imagine, and makes me feel some days like all we are doing is making meals, eating, cleaning up, and then starting all over again.  In addition to her meals, we are currently feeding her 6 ounces of blenderized diet daily to supplement what she is taking by mouth.  If you are wondering, blenderized diet is just what it sounds like – several different foods blended up in the blender and then syringed through her g-tube.  This 6 ounces of blenderized diet replaces the 32 ounces of formula that she was receiving daily before we left for Seattle, so you can see from this alone that she has come a long way in how much she is eating.  Read more here:

But when I read a book, watch a movie or television show, very little of the lives of the characters are spent eating.  (The exceptions to this rule are cooking shows, The Food Network, and the movie “Julie & Julia”, based on the life of a blogger as she cooks through Julia Child’s premiere cookbook.)

So I’ve pondered at various times why it is that so much of my life is taken up with the thought of food.  And that maybe I’m missing the real plot of life as I’m focused on the food. 

These queries sort of shake me.  I don’t want to miss what’s important.  And I don’t want to make food more important than it should be.  But I do enjoy food.  Do I enjoy it too much?  Should I enjoy it less?  Should I appreciate it for what it is?  But when I go fresher & healthier with my food, the more time it consumes in my life, proportionately.  Because it takes more time to select the right food.  (Not to mention GROW it, but I’m still not quite there.)  And to prepare it. 

This leaves me in a conundrum.  I like the idea of not worrying about where my next meal comes from (and let’s be honest – I don’t WORRY about it like some have to worry about it; I know there will BE a next meal - I just don’t know whether it will be at home or out somewhere).  I don’t want FOOD to consume my life.  I want it to be in its rightful place in my life.  But just what place that is I’m still figuring out. 

And then I ponder the idea that perhaps if my life is a book and I’m writing the plot (thanks, Donald Miller, for inspiring me to desire to “write a better story with my life”!), then maybe MY book is not a mystery, action-adventure, comedy or romance.  Perhaps MY book is more of a family cookbook collection, filled with recipes and stories about how food has been a tool that’s brought me closer to loved ones.  And maybe that’s exactly what MY book should be. 

I’m still wrestling with all this.  I probably will for a very long time, if not forever.  Because I desire to be what God created me to be and live a balanced life in his name, giving him the glory.  But if God created me to be a cookbook, I don’t want to be striving to be a suspenseful thriller.  (That sounds too stressful anyway!)

Ideas?  Helpful input that’s put you on the right path?

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