Thursday, August 23, 2012

One Strawberry

It was hard to get out of bed this morning. Yesterday had brought more sadness into my life and I had tried unsuccessfully to lift myself out of it. When I did manage to crawl out of bed (corners of my mouth turned down), the phone rang, delivering more trouble. After hanging up, I looked around my kitchen and realized that, as much as I had been trying to think positively, lots of things in my family were not going well. A year or so ago, it had seemed like things might be finally turning around for us. But the last few months made me wonder if the light at the end of the tunnel had just been a firefly passing by in the night.

And to top it all off, the strawberries were moldy.

I had been eating oatmeal with berries for breakfast the last two weeks as part of my weight loss plan. Yesterday I had blueberries, and today was supposed to be strawberries. The berries were a crucial part of the plan for several reasons, not least of which was that, since I was avoiding all sugar, the oatmeal was quite bland without the sweetness of berries.

Before feeling sorry for my berry-less self, I decided to inspect the strawberries closely to see if any had managed to avoid the mold. One had. One clean, juicy, beautiful red strawberry. I wondered if it would be enough. I drew from the drawer my sharp little paring knife and sliced the strawberry into tiny pieces over my oatmeal. It looked so good, I decided to take a picture.

That's when it hit me: I had found a way to appreciate what I had rather than focusing on what I didn't have. I embraced what was "right" and forgot about what was "wrong."

But would it withstand the taste test? I felt hopeful as I sat down at the table next to my daughter and lifted the first spoonful to my mouth. It tasted delicious. Just enough natural sweetness in every bite, spoonful after spoonful. (Okay, truth in reporting: there was about one tablespoon left without berries at the end and I fed it to the dog. But, hey, I was full anyway.)

Who knew breakfast could be a conduit for joy? That one strawberry reminded me once again that, though there are struggles and pain and sadness, if we look closely, with appreciation and an open heart, we can find what we need and turn our attention to what is good and beautiful. (And it's not just strawberries!)

What is good and beautiful in your life today? Find and embrace it. 

"From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise." ~ Philippians 4:8 Common English Bible

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