As I write this I am just over halfway through a 40-day A Place at the Table journey of eating what my sponsored child in Haiti eats. I’ve been eating rice, beans, chicken, avocados, bananas and oranges.
It’s been a fairly easy process in terms of my diet, because these are all foods I usually enjoy. But rice and beans for breakfast? Every day?
At this point I’d really enjoy a bowl of granola with fresh strawberries, roasted flax seeds and cold almond milk.
It’s been an unusually sunny and warm spring where I live. I’d really like an ice cream cone. Mint chocolate chip. Make that a waffle cone, please.
I’d like a tall, cold glass of limeade.
I’d like a green salad with freshly grilled ahi tuna and toasted pine nuts.
I’d like some sharp cheddar cheese.
I’d like a crisp fuji apple.
I’d like a chocolate brownie.
I’d like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
I could go on.
But as I spend every day choosing to eat something more bland, more boring, more routine, I’ve had another set of desires flashing in my head.
I’d like to be more patient with my children.
I’d like to be more intentional about getting to know some of my neighbors.
I’d like to be a more faithful and available friend.
I’d like to pursue some creative impulses that I’ve felt tugging at me for a long time.
I’d like to have more space in my head and in my heart, which have grown really crowded with the routines of my life.
I know switching to a simpler diet for the rest of my life won’t help fulfill these noble desires. It’s not that easy. But right now I am acutely aware of the simple wants I usually spend significant time pursuing, and it has made me realize that there are some higher callings I need to give just as much attention to.
And while I usually have a pretty healthy relationship with food, I often use it as a distraction. The internal dialogue sounds something like this:
Got a difficult phone call to make? Maybe I’ll go make a snack first and push that call off another 30 minutes.
Got a project to complete that will take some time and hard focus? Maybe I’ll go make dinner instead.
What important desires of your heart often get pushed aside in favor of more easily satisfied pleasures? Do you ever use food as a distraction?