I finally did it. I told my husband I am ending my longtime affair with buttered popcorn. This break up is long overdue; it has been a relationship since childhood. It’s more than the salty, buttery crunch that I crave. It’s the memories, the memories so vivid they provoke all of my senses. No, this isn’t a blog post about how I am going to lose weight or eat “clean” in 2018. This note is a reminder for all of us to ponder the answer to this question,
“What are we really craving?”
I’m proposing, that we fill our bellies when what we are craving is relationships. Many of us never stop to ponder the mystery behind our cravings, but it would do us well to give it some thought. Are we craving something because of a nutritional deficiency, a self-control deficiency, or Are we craving food because of a people deficiency?
What are three hazards that leave us relationship deficient?
Our culture beckons us to a rat race of multi-tasking. Multitasking that draws us out of the present moments and transports us to a million different places without ever moving from our geographical location. As the “queen” of multi-tasking, I’m not necessarily knocking it. However, I am challenging us to consider how multi-tasking could be starving us from what life is really about- experiences and relationships. In a text with one of my married daughters, I reminded her of the importance of putting the phone down and living in the moment. She agreed wholeheartedly with me and wrote, “Nearly half my problems are solved by putting my phone down and the other half by eating chocolate.” I couldn’t agree more with her!
CBS News reports that Americans are obsessed with fast food. Personally, I think what we’re really obsessed with is cheap convenience. The multi-tasking hazard plays a role in this, but I believe associative habits play a part as well. Think about the last time you ate something, fast food or not because you associate it with another experience. I use to do this all the time with diet coke. I craved a diet coke each time I got in the car. Why? Because I had enjoyed a diet coke while driving longer than I could remember. Fast food gets in the way of relationships. Usually, we can’t build relationships if we’re talking to a box, picking up our meal through a window, and eating in our car alone. Let’s stop and think about why we’re going through the fast food line; it will help us avoid this hazard.
The Pursuit of Perfection:
I hear from both men and women all the reasons why they can’t spend a meal with family or friends. Usually, it all comes down to a misguided pursuit of perfection. We make “perfection” our aim instead of joy, grace, growth, and love. Perfection escapes our grasp like the wind, while depression and disappointment cling to us. We miss opportunities, experiences and our relationships end up bankrupt. Friends, please take notes of this hazard. Perfection is a never-ending journey. Perfection is incredibly rewarding when we understand the process.
- Perfection is subjective: The perfect meal, perfect home, job, marriage, or car is all subjective. What is ideal for one person will not be suitable for another. A perfect score on the test has rules that we’ve all agreed to measure as perfection.
- Perfection is relative: When we find perfection in one area, we lack perfection in another area of life. Life is about giving and taking, balance and order. Perfection is no different.
We will find perfection is simple, unexpected, and messy. Let’s embrace perfection as we pursue relationships.
How do we recover from relationship deficiency?
Return to the family table.
Research shows that we dramatically improve our relationships when we enjoy four meals each week around the table with friends and family. To accomplish this goal you might have to break up with buttered popcorn like me, or maybe you need to break up with perfection. Whatever it is, let’s get back to the table and enjoy the moments and memories we’ll savor for a lifetime. Reclaiming the family table grounds us in the present moment with the experiences and people that are most important to us. Sharing a meal with others is a vital step for us to recover from a culture of relationship deficiency.
What do you say, will you join me and spend more meals around the table this year?
Until our next chat,
Mrs. Joseph Wood
P.S. Did you read my last article, “When I finally learned that food matters”?