Friday, July 30, 2010

Excess - and why more doesn't add up to better

I started off in the yard early this morning - intending to beat the heat. The strategy didn't really work, but I do have a nicely mowed, edged and (partially) weeded garden for my trouble.

It's hard to follow yesterday's blog post - especially in terms of the photograph - so today I'm posting a couple of our recent cooking adventures.

What's been best about this has been the all out flavor-fest! It's much easier to deal with smaller portions when the taste is so good.

Take yesterday's evening meal, for example (not pictured). I tossed a salad of mixed baby greens, garbanzo beans, chopped red onion, chopped tomato, sliced (fresh) mango, and Italian dressing... with a little salt and pepper and a touch of diced garlic. Then I grilled a dozen fresh large shrimp. I served the salad with the shrimp on top and a slice of whole-wheat flat bread on the side.

The flavor combinations were spectacular! We were more than satisfied.

But isn't more always better?
This cooking process is making me think - and re-think - about the idea of excess. Here in the West, and in North American in particular, we go in for a lot of conspicuous over-consumption. We do it because we can, because "This is America, gosh darn-it; it's our God-given right", and because there's this cultural overlay that declares, "More is always better."

Here's how it works. If a four-ounce steak is good... then an eight ounce fillet is better, right? Simple math then concludes the full one-pound tenderloin would be best of all. Or, if my family is happy in a 2,000 square foot home... then we'll be even happier in a 3,000 square footer, right? And if a $50,000 income leaves me satisfied, then earning $250,000 is going to make me more satisfied still. It stands to reason!

But isn't it possible to be satisfied and fulfilled (and a free American) without overindulgence? Apart from avoiding the heartburn, and the weight gain, and the cardio-vascular problems, and looking bloated, and being generally unhealthy... could it be true that we can actually experience more pleasure when we accent flavor, and creativity, and invention, and balance over the mantra of "more = better"...?

The parallels for life in general are self-evident. Focusing on the quality of the experience, and enjoying the benefits that go along with balance and flavor.

I'd like to think we're living that way: within our means, always bringing the most flavor out of the moment, balancing the spiritual with the physical, enjoying what we have rather than looking for the next big bite.

Maybe that's it. When it's always about more then there's no enjoying the moment - there's simply getting in line for the next slice... while stuffing your mouth with the perfectly adequate portion on your plate without even enjoying what you have....

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life" (Matthew 6).

1 comment:

SF said...

I have not been able to read your blog in a while. I was in your online Advent class last December. I was so encouraged, once again, by reading your blogs. I am with you in still working to live each and every day to its fullest, being content with what I have, where I am in my journey and putting my faith only in Him and not the world!Thanks for being willing to share your thoughts with all of us.