Monday, September 11, 2006

Mayonnaise Sandwich

When we were first married, my beloved was in the Air Force. We lived in town the first year and he commuted to the base just outside of town. From time to time, one of the other airmen would call for a ride. Usually he didn’t mind, but he always dreaded the call from Larry.

Larry was in his early 20’s, married, with children. His wife stayed home to care for the children and money was scarce. Every day Larry packed the same lunch: mayonnaise sandwiches. He took two pieces of white bread, slathered mayonnaise in between, and called it a sandwich. Now, that’s just sad.

Even sadder were the stories he told. He told great tales about dating movie stars, or about his previous job as a commander in the Russian military. My beloved could never tell if Larry believed his own tales, or if he created this fantasy world as a way to cope with the realities of his real life.

That was over 30 years ago, but I’ve never been able to forget that mayonnaise sandwich. It had nothing of substance, nothing of value. Yet he filled up on it every day.

What do I fill up on every day that substitutes for substance, for nutritional value (physical or spiritual) in my life? Is it television, the internet, my own thoughts, or just piddling? Is it complaining, worry, depression, or just idleness? Do I get so distracted by the urgent that I lose sight of the important? Is it just me, or does this happen to you?

It happened to Martha. Her sister, Mary sat at the feet of their guest, Jesus, “listening to what he said.” Martha, on the other hand, was “distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” and complained to Jesus about it. “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“The Lord answered, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10:38-42

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