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The Bible instructs us not to worry and be attached to the material things in life. The truth is that most of our pains and afflictions stem from an attachment to things that we mistakenly see as permanent.
This façade of permanence is what drives us to achieve all the things we deem important – a certain job, maybe a relationship, a prestigious title, or in my case, a piece of delicious banana bread. Before you furrow your brow in confusion, hear me out.
Even as a vegetarian, I’m not a particularly picky eater. There are, however, certain foods that I get very Gordon Ramsey about. Banana bread happens to be one of them. I’m so obsessed with the perfect density, moist-ness, texture etc…that when I find a place or person who makes a loaf that at the very least meets my culinary standards, I become a faithful customer. The cafeteria near my workplace has exceeded them by leaps and bounds. So much so that I find myself looking forward to lunchtime just so I can take the walk across the street in my heels and wait in line during the lunch time rush all to get my hands on that delicious, sweet, confectionary work of art.
A few days ago, I set off for lunch at exactly 12:30pm, right on schedule to pick up my tasty treat. My morning had been lackluster at best, and still feeling the effects of the morning commute, the thought of taking that first bite perked me up enough to put a pep in my step. When I arrived, to my horror, there was no banana bread to be found. That’s right. After I checked all the regular spots—twice— I searched at the counters where I knew it definitely would not be…all in the hope that it would magically appear just because I was hoping so hard. As a last-ditch attempt not to waste the efforts of my journey, I quickly purchased a chocolate chunk cookie and was on my way. Hungry and dejected, I meandered, sullen-faced and miserable, back to my office. I slumped into my chair and looked at the cookie with disappointment as if it would never measure up. As I took my first few bites, I realized, “Hmm. This cookie is actually pretty tasty. What was I so upset about?”.
The insight hit me like a Mayweather left hook. I had attached a permanence to the banana bread. I had become so dependent and sure that it would be there, that eventually I set an expectation for myself that was beyond my control. And when it wasn’t met, I felt a loss of control; a loss of order to my day. I was even indignant that the cafeteria would have the nerve not to at least put out some sort of notice! Yes, it’s actually a little embarrassing to admit that something so trivial could affect me so much. But the fact that I was able to recognize the emotion, identify it, and reframe the situation was extremely meaningful to me in terms of what it meant for other aspects of my life. How often do we set unrealistic expectations for people or things from day-to-day? Or expect things to happen perfectly according to our neatly scheduled timelines and storyboards?
It’s been said that the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray, and really, the cookie was just as good if not better than the banana bread I had been looking forward to. I was just so irritated about not getting exactly what I wanted that I nearly missed out on what I had been able to get instead. The lesson? We need to be open to the idea of something we didn’t plan being the solution or the answer to whatever issue we are facing. Don’t let your happiness depend on that which is temporary. Breathe energy and positivity into your life and go with the flow. There is so much opportunity to be seized if you would just reach out your hand to grab it as it passes by.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.” – Proverbs 3:5-6