Have you ever taken the time to observe how different people eat their meals? I find it somewhat fascinating, though some might say creepy, and I wonder if it says something about our personality and/or thought processes.
Let’s me give you an example: On a Saturday morning after Parkrun I cook a full breakfast for the household: bacon, scrambled eggs, hash brown, toast, baked beans and fried mushrooms. Now, when I start to eat my meal I like to get a variety of different elements onto my fork. I enjoy the mixture of flavours and textures as I work my way through my meal. My husband uses a different method. He likes to eat things in isolation and will rarely have a fork loaded with more than one item (except the toast with his egg).
These differences in how we eat are a little similar to our personalities. I tend to have multiple things on the go, often at the same time whereas David is quite methodical and linear in his tasks. I’ve even asked him why he eats his meal the way he does and he didn’t even realise this was what he was doing. Again, similar to our personalities where I notice bizarre minor things and he dismisses things that are seemingly unimportant. Neither way is wrong, it’s just different.
He even has this interesting way of eating bacon. If he can, he folds it multiple times on top of itself to create a multi layered bacon stack before he pops it into his mouth. It reminds me of watching my dad eat fried egg where he would first of all cut away and eat all the white before putting the yolk as a whole on his fork and devouring it in one mouthful. The look of satisfaction on his face when he had achieved this goal is one of sheer delight as I remember the times we ate together. Both of these examples speak of wholeheartedly enjoying one thing without allowing anything else to taint that experience, something akin to being totally absorbed.
While I enjoy the variety of things on my plate, there are some that have a higher appeal to me and these are the things that I will finish last. My youngest child sometimes works opposite to this by starting with his favourite flavours and leaving his least favourite to the end. For me, my favourite flavours are the reward for eating the other things, for him it’s more exciting to start with what he enjoys which will give him the momentum to work his way through the meal. Some of us need delayed gratification, others use alternate means to finish.
Another of my children, when they were quite young, used to ask for assistance in cutting the larger elements on their plate. Sounds reasonable until they went into a complete meltdown at the table when the request had been met, declaring loudly and with tears that the food was now ‘broken’ and therefore inedible. We learned that if we waited long enough they would eventually give the ‘broken’ food a go. For them, there is this constant wrestle with what they think they want and therefore build up in their mind, with what they have.
There is a verse in the Bible that tells us to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’ (Psalm 34 verse 8) and my reflection on the ways we eat reminds me that it doesn’t matter how we ‘taste’ God but that the end result will ALWAYS be good and worthwhile. Whether we nibble, or gulp, or try multiple aspects all at once or one thing one at a time we will always discover that it is worth consuming.
So whichever way you eat your meal, can I encourage you to also be sure to taste God and include his flavour in your life? You will not be disappointed.