Lessons From Donuts and Garages

donutThe fact that I’m still thinking about that donut after a whole week should tell you something: either I’m a sugar addict and revel in all my indulgences–or–I’m worried about my ‘haven’t had a waistline since baby #1’ and don’t want to make it worse.   Well, I should be concerned about said lack of waistline, but truthfully, it doesn’t keep me up at nights.  As far as I’m concerned, a fifty-nine cent gift to my sanity and sugar tank is worth paying the price of having to walk around the block once more. (Although, let’s be serious.  Walking with three little kids and a dog generally doesn’t work up much of a donut-burning sweat.)

Since we’ve safely ruled out the waistline issue, for better or worse, it would make sense to deduce the former suggestion about some sort of sugar addiction.  That would be true: I am a sugar addict.  I need to work on that.  Combating this addiction with a leafy-green substance would be a good place to start.  Increasing my asparagus intake would also be beneficial.  But back to the donut problem.

The problem with the donut, or rather, the lesson I learned from it, lies in neither of the above scenarios.  The donut ‘lesson’ started when I ate this gorgeously fried circle of infinite fatty glory, and ruined my appetite.  It happened last Sunday.

As usual, we were a few items short of a Top Chef lunch, so we headed to our friendly Meijer store after church where I made the ill-fated purchase.  There it was, making eyes at me from within its glass home.  Luscious chocolate frosting dried to a smooth sheen, perfectly tanned donut holding it all together.  I would not be stopped.  I stole it from the tray and stuffed a curved edge into my mouth before even depositing it into the paper bag.  Another bite in the car on the way home.  Another bite while I was chopping veggies for lunch (what’s wrong with that picture?!).  Another bite while the chicken marinated.  And then it was gone.

Brandon put the cedar planks on the grill and I tried to channel Bobby Flay by cutting a little pocket into each chicken breast and stuffing them with cheese and fresh spinach from our neighbor’s garden.   Next came bell peppers: cleaned out and sliced in half, placed directly on the grill next to the mushrooms with a little olive oil.  The grill hissed, cedar saturated the air, and I could not *wait* to eat.

With our patio set newly unearthed and restored to the deck, we sat down in the sunshine for our first outdoor lunch of the summer.  Icy Coke in front of me, warm bread, grilled veggies and that cedar plank chicken.  Oh yeah…and that donut that was sitting in my gut like a brick.  I took three bites of my chicken and was so full I couldn’t eat another bite!  What a disappointment!  I cursed the donut under my breath, safely beneath the decibel level of the children in earshot.  For once in my life I actually found success by making a meal that did not originate in a box or on a recipe card, and I was too full to eat it.  I had wasted my hunger on a stupid donut.

This got me to thinking.  How often don’t we grab for a temporary fix–something tasty, but full of empty calories, so to speak–and end up regretting it.  How often don’t we sacrifice what we’re really hungry for by trying to fill up on something worthless?  To me this has all sorts of spiritual connections and consequences.  The Lord promises to provide for all our needs, yet we often–I often–sell out for a cheap substitute because I think I know better.  My choices are better.  Providing for myself is better.  My way is better.  I’m SO hungry…and I choose…a donut?

Today we celebrated Father’s Day.   On the way home from my parents’ house we drove past several other gatherings and many open garage doors.  I could not believe—could. not. believe.—the amount of JUNK that people have crammed into their little 20×28 covered slabs of attached-to-the-house-cement.  Trash!  Things they’ll surely never use!  Things I’m certain they don’t even remember having purchased!  Things I’m sure they don’t even know are still there, collecting dust and providing a cozy night’s stay for the resident mice!

Why is this?  Why do we load up on all this stuff?  All these things that we obviously don’t need (or else they’d be in the house).  Things we probably don’t even want (or we’d take better care of them).  Things we most likely wouldn’t even recall losing if the house burned to the ground into a heap of ashes!  I would argue that this garage situation is the donut problem in epic proportions.  We’re trying to fill some sort of void–some sort of gap–some deep hunger, with stuff.

The truth is, we’re missing the point.  The chicken and bell peppers are going to waste, and we’re missing the point.  The donut is now taking up residence on our right thigh, and we’re missing the point.  The garage continues to pile higher and higher, and we’re missing the point.

I know I can be a little dramatic, maybe too little serious sometimes.  As my neighbor will tell you, there’s no chance on this side of Heaven of me giving up donuts forever.  Let’s not get crazy!  But I will give pause, next time, to when and where I eat that donut.  And maybe, spend a little more time thinking about the why, too.

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2 Responses to Lessons From Donuts and Garages

  1. Kara says:

    Hi Jane,
    I am checking out your blog for the first time. I love the donut analogy and enjoyed reading your writing…sort of reminded me of the good conversations in Schrier. Have a great day!

  2. kamarah says:

    I know I love your writing and I’m sure this entry was awesome. . . but I couldn’t scroll down the page any further because I didn’t want to lose site of that glorious donut. Good thing it didn’t have sprinkles on it or I may have tried to lick the screen.

    Seriously, though – great thoughts to ponder, as usual ! 🙂

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