Throughout the day, one can lose sight of what is important. As Americans, we are so blessed. We have so many options that at times it can be all overwhelming ...
Take, for instance the cereal aisle.
Have you visited one recently?
Miles upon miles of variety. Cheerios, Cap' n Crunch, Life, Raisin Bran, Honey Bunches of Oats, Shredded Mini Wheat's (my personal favorite), Cookie Crunch, Coco Crisp, Wheaties, Chex. Then there is that Tony the Tiger dude and his buddy Mr. Frog. And let's not forget about the mysterious Grape Nuts (What are those things anyway? Neither Grape. Nor Nuts. Hmmmm ...). Finally, let's throw in the mix the endless types of cereal bars, Toaster Strudels and Pop Tarts.
I was in Mexico about 5 years ago building a house with a team of volunteers, and one afternoon they asked me to go to the local store to pick up some supplies. The task was to pick up some soda pop and breakfast. I walked in and identified both of the products in under 1 minute. There, on the shelf, was a bottle of Coke and a few feet down the aisle was a box of Cheerios. Simple. I was in and out. No headaches, no variety, no difficulty back home explaining to everyone why I didn't get their favorite. In fact, everyone had a favorite.
Do you know what they were? Coke &Cheerios.
Like I said, simple.
Have you noticed what all of this stuff does to us? It makes us very picky and it makes us very unhappy. Too many selections can lead to unsatisfaction. Instead of a simple cereal, we need cereal plus 18 colors in it. AND we need the toy. AND we need the special code to enter to win something. AND. AND. AND. Nothing is good enough because we are spoiled. Rotten.
Contentment is a hard thing to come by these days. I agree with Maya Angelou, “We need much less than we think we need.” That is why I recommend getting out of your comfort zone one and volunteering your time with a person (or group of people) less fortunate than you are. On that day, you will realize that food is significant because you will rub shoulders with someone that doesn't have any. You will realize that cable is a gift, because you might be in the home of a person that does not have a TV. In the extreme case, you might see the value in turning on your tap water after sitting with a family that is dying from thirst. The Bible teaches, "That there is nothing better for a man than he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good labour" (Ecc. 2:24). The idea being presented is that we should find satisfaction in the simple things like a meal with family and friends. I can remember going to visit my Italian Grandma all the time when I was little and I would find her just sitting on her porch swinging away on the glider. No book. No TV. Just her swinging. She was content to watch the grass grow. I can tell you with absolute honesty that one of my favorite things is just to watch my wife enjoying being a mother to our daughter. When Christen is holding her or bathing her, I see mom's face almost shine. I try hard to not pass by those simple little moments.
Because if I do, I lose a gift right in front of my very eyes.