I just polished off a box of Life cereal. No big deal, except that we bought it on Saturday afternoon, and it’s Monday night. And I’m pretty certain that Jason hasn’t touched it once. Now, before I go further, I feel compelled to state that it was normal sized box–not the jumbo version, and that I regularly consume cereal for my meals lately (in place of other items that sound terrible and give me heartburn). It’s also my go-to bedtime snack. That being said, imagine my surprise when I shook out the last few pieces into a bowl tonight–a mere two days after making the purchase and bringing it home.
As I sat down to eat my deliciously satisfying and (quite obviously) necessary bedtime bowl of Life, I couldn’t help but think how real life (not the cereal version) can be so much like this little episode I’d just experienced with the box and bowl and spoon. It’s easy to assume that things are just as you see them–the box is in the pantry, therefore it has cereal in it, and therefore, I can enjoy it tonight as normal. Instead, you realize that while you were planning to pour out a normal day or a normal situation, or while you assumed one thing all along, your reality is something altogether different. And it can sneak up on you a little bit like an empty cereal box, too. You figure no one else has had any cereal since you put the box away, or you presume that everything is as you perceive having left it, when really, there won’t be cereal enough for you to enjoy a bowl in the morning; and disappointment is frequently the result.
I think what I’m trying to say can be summed up by a question people ask all of the time…”You know what they say about assuming, right?” In my own terms, the retort goes something like, “It makes a ‘fool’ out of you and me.” You get the idea. I don’t love learning this lesson over and over when I think I’ve had ample opportunity to pick it up over the years, but the truth is that assuming and/or taking things for granted can be dangerous territory. It’s better to be sure about something, or to clarify so that you can be sure of something. In other words, it isn’t any fun to run out of your most recent favorite cereal because you just assumed there’d be more in the box.
I guess I’ve been nominated for another lesson tonight. Instead of just eating my bowl of cereal as I planned, I had to find some metaphor in it that would land me here. My grand conclusion? Things aren’t always as they seem. When I realize this about anything important in life, my strong desire is to figure out what things really look like on the inside of the box. And it’s the hardest thing in the world to wonder but not have the answers.
My cereal bowl is empty now, and the box is, too, but my mind is full up with things I need to pray about and ponder. I never imagined getting so much out of a $2 box of cereal.
Now what to do with the milk and the spoon?…