If my son could have a magnifying glass next to his fork every night, he would. Dinner goes something like this:
B: “What’s that?”
Me: “It’s a spice in the spaghetti sauce. Just a little fleck of goodness.”
B: “No. I don’t like it. I don’t want any of those green things in my bites.”
Me: “They’re always in the sauce, and you like it.”
B: “NO, I DON’T!”
And at other times:
B: “Why is it black on there? I don’t want that.”
Me: “It’s just burnt from the grill. It’s yummy. Just eat around it if you don’t like it.”
B: Proceeds to dissect all the sweet potato parcels, eating approximately a teaspoon of nutrition.
To him, the visual examination of the food is an integral part of the process. He eats with his eyes. Not all green things are gross, but most are met with incredible, indignant skepticism. He’s a boy who
notices the slightest change, and resists it on principle.
I suppose we’re all a little bit like this.
There’s no guessing where his stubbornness comes from. When I was a child, my parents gave us Flintstone chewable vitamins, and I hated them. So, I concocted a system. I pretended to blow my nose every morning at breakfast and spit my vitamins into the tissue. One would think this was a pretty solid plan for getting away with not eating my vitamins. I, however, never threw the nutritional tissues away (I think the guilt kicked in at that point.); I hid them in the corner of my room. And one day – you guessed it – my parents found a pile of tissues, stained with pink and purple and orange of Flintstones, sticky and melted throughout, stuffed in the corner of my room. I think that was the moment my parents realized I might be more stubborn than them.
I have those moments all the time. I never thought heightened obstinance was possible. God laughed and gave me Bronson.
I look at my kids now, and so often, I think you’re stubbornly resisting what you most need, the very things that will nourish you.
And I think of myself, not just as a child, but right now in this very day, I’m still stubbornly resisting the things that I need most. Refusing to rest when my body says too much. Refusing to engage in play or relationship or anything at all. Refusing to make time – for myself, for others, for faith, for life, for love. Refusing to be present and content, excepting that the day that unwraps is the day that I am to live.
Too often the problem is that we judge everything by its cover. Is it flashy and fun? (My boys will eat anything wrapped it a colorful package, especially if you throw Lightning McQueen or Dusty on it.) Does it seem appealing? Will it make me happy? Is it a treat?
What about the things that are not so much fun, but nourishing? The fruits and veggies of our days.
The saying good morning and giving hugs even when our children wake us before 5 a.m. (Yes, this happens in our house, regularly. Insert your pity.) The making of meals; the visiting the potty. The reading of books; the picking up of toys. The cleaning of house; the getting down on the floor and playing Legos. The reading the Bible; the writing of prayers. The showers and tubbies and getting dressed and doing laundry and doing errands and talking the kids down from a fist fight.
Much of life is green. I meet it with incredible, indignant skepticism. This is not fun, as Bronson would say.
But if fun is the only goal, if flashy is the only pursuit, won’t our lives be deficient? Void of the very stuff that nourishes us.