September 18, 2011

Days 17 & 18–You don’t want to empty my pantry…

You know how when you’ve hit a wall and you want to break the rules so bad and you just don’t want to talk about it anymore?  No?  Ok, just me.  I’ve hit that wall. 

Here’s the thing – I’m so over it today.  Three times I wanted us to short-cut this challenge and take a detour.  How easy it would have been to order Chinese food, when we were too busy with house projects to stop and cook.  How much simpler it would have been to simply “grab a bite” on our way home from church, as the Littles shouted from the car seat section…”Me Hun-ree!”  How tempting it was to boycott our kitchen and visit a Wingstop.  (or a Chipotle, but who cares besides me and my pitiful burrito bowl-less self?) 

Instead I WILL be boring you with the menu.  Because you need to hear EXACTLY how the Empty Pantry part of this challenge can in fact bite you in the gut.  Those details below:

Saturday -

Breakfast: I do so love a good Saturday morning breakfast when AB is here.  Yay!  Pancakes, eggs, and say it with me: bacon.  Eek!

Lunch:  The kids and I had a “whatever” lunch because AB had scooted off to work.  However – take in the deliciousness that was my turkey sandwich.  Droooool…


Dinner:  Back home, AB made a fab-o whole chicken.  He called it some cool name that had to do with a Coke can, and being really juicy…but I forgot both the name AND to take any pictures.  So we’ll call it Coke Can Chicken, a garden salad, some golden delicious fries.  Don’t judge.

Sunday – (I warned you)

Breakfast: Cereal – it’s what we do when we’re in a hurry.

Lunch:  Ahem.  Ok, this was a clean the pantry moment:  vienna sausage in a can (I’ll wait while you go Google it…………..and we’re back)  That was all AB.  I didn’t eat them.  Two cans of sardines, spread over buttered bread.  Also AB.  I had a tuna sandwich, and Quint and Keira whatever else we could find.  I don’t even know.  I think Keira shared with Anton and Quint had a Lunchable.  Because my little man ain’t TOUCHING sardines. 

Dinner:  Burritos.  And I didn’t snap pics, because you can do that yourself at the frozen food section of your local grocery store.  I told you we were ready to “detour” to the Chinese place….

Meanwhile, I’m in the middle of this project I like to call “Get rid of all the garbage eating up space in our house”.  That’s a fun chore, right?  I’ve been going room to room for a couple months and just purging out as much as I can and re-organizing what’s left.  I’m feeling good because we’ve made it through most of the house – and we haven’t been chicken this time.  As in, lots and lots of items are going – stuff we’ve held onto for years is outtie.

I bring this up because something else occurred to me through the purging I worked on today (which was in the laundry room) and I just wanted to share it with you.  When I was still single (and many moons ago) I rented an itty bitty house in the country for three years that I shared with a good friend and her young daughter .  This house was about 600 square feet and was built during the Depression Era.  That right there tells you it was flat out OLD.  It had not been renovated.  We did not have central air-conditioning.  We had bullfrogs in the bathtub.  And it was so cold in the winter, I swear I’m still not sure how we convinced ourselves to get out of bed in the morning.  Still, the worst part of this house was hands-down, the laundry room.   

The laundry room was a tiny shack-like structure that someone who lived there before us had built onto the back of the kitchen.  Sort of.  I mean, it was a wreck of a laundry room – and it was really just some wood slapped up on a platform with laundry outlets.  It was dark and full of spiders and wasp nests.  It had an ill-fitted slat door that led outside and it closed with a wonky and barely there clasp.  It was a hazard to try and go out there to get your clothes clean.  I hated that tiny room. 

Today I have a nice little laundry room.  There are no spiders.  There are no wasps nests, thank God.  Actually, it’s just a small room down the hall where I can go and wash our clothes.  It has a place to hang drying items.  It has some cabinets to store sheets and towels and cleaning supplies.  And it has George and Gracie…Amen.


But can I tell you a secret?  Some days, it still feels like it’s not enough.  Sure, it does the trick.  And it’s a far cry from the wasp infested shanty from 15 years ago.  But still, I find myself wishing for more.  Isn’t that shocking?  After doing your laundry in a dark little shack with the fear of being stung buzzing around your head while you sort whites from colors and now you have George and Gracie in a small but cute and well-lit laundry room?  Still not enough?

No, in fact I want a bona fide Mud Room.  A place where we keep our coats and shoes as we come in the from the rain, a place to wash, fold and hang clothes, a catch-all for things like ice-coolers, galoshes, and little signs that say “Laundry $.10”.  Or whatever.  Point it, I still want bigger.  Better.  More.  It’s never quite enough.  And that attitude extends to the rest of my home.  To our cars.  Wherein, as good as it might be – I still feel like it’s not enough.  That whole, we need bigger.  We need better.  We need more.  More kitchen.  More bedrooms.  More space.  More closets.  Leather seats that warm up in the winter.  Sigh.

That, my friends, is what I mean when I say we are a culture SUBMERGED in consumerism.  Use me as your example.  We can become fixated on how to have more, somehow.  Even if we don’t REALLY need it.  Even if we can’t really AFFORD it.  Even if our resources would be better used somewhere else. 

And no, I’m not saying you can’t have nice things.  No, I’m not saying you should sell all you have and live in a cardboard box.  I’m saying CONSUMERISM is a mentality.  And it begins with the word “consume” for a reason.  Because I think the idea of always trying to have Bigger. Better. More. is what consumes us.  How being lost in the rut of feeling that what you have is somehow not enough…because perhaps maybe it is, less than perfect according to the world’s standard - well, that’s just where you need to be to lose focus on what matters.  And if you are there, you should know that you’re not alone.  Not at all. 

The question is this; when do we stop trying to keep up with the world’s expectations of our lives and our children and our homes, and start trying to imagine what God would have us do with our resources?  With the things He has given to us?  Because maybe – just maybe – I should be offering to wash someone else's clothes with George and Gracie.  Maybe for the woman who just adopted twin newborns?  Maybe I should be using what I HAVE been blessed with to be a blessing to others?  Maybe I should be allowing that space (and all the others in my home) to be used to bring my focus back to all the good things we DO HAVE, and not to whatever it is I think I’m missing. 

Just more things to think about on the journey of “nothing”…


Wendy in OH said...

I was whining the other day about my beautiful chair and ottoman needing more 19 year old son says "First World Problem"...what a wake up call, how truly blessed we are.

shelley said...

GREAT post....filled my heart up! We are doing a complete inventory of the pantry and freezer today to see where we are with meal planning this week and I hope to spend less than 50 dollars at the store this week. I can't tell you how this challenge has opened our eyes. Funny how we have never met but you have opened the door in my consumerism filled heart to allow God to do his wonderful work.

Anna said...

Im right there with you, my friend! I know that wall! My brain has been trying to come up with reasons to be finished with the challenge. I'm not going to give up. I think blogging about it keeps me honest. You're doing great! Love reading your updates!

Unknown said...

Wonderful post..wonderful words to think about.