First off, there are many home cooked meals that I make with pride and delight knowing that my husband can truthfully tell me it doesn’t suck, but that’s not to say I am too proud to eat ramen noodles, boxed macaroni and cheese, or some completely un-fancy chili that consists of opening three cans, some chili seasoning, and a pound of hamburger. This is not one of those meals I would brag about, BUT it is cold weather, comfort food that reminds me of my dad so I will continue to make it forever.
Recently, I realized that one small can of tomato sauce is eight ounces. Do the simple math and two of those would equal 16 ounces. One day I was looking for my two small cans of plain Jane, Hunts’ tomato sauce and came to find that they only had one left. I reached for a bigger can and saw it was 15 ounces. I mean excluding one ounce it’s essentially the same.
I started wondering why my dad always bought two eight ounce cans instead of simply sacrificing the one ounce and buying one can. Years later, which was this week, I finally asked him why he did that. He had absolutely no good reason for this and I was immediately reminded of the pot roast principle I’d heard about years before.
Pot Roast Principle
In a nutshell, here’s the pot roast principle…girl sees her mom cut the ends off of a pot roast and asks her mom why she did that. Her mom replies with “I don’t know, that’s just how your grandma did it.” So girl calls grandma and asks why she did that? Grandma says, “I don’t know, that’s just how your great-grandma did it.” Girl calls great-grandma and asks the same questions. Great-grandma says, “when I was first married, I had a very small oven and my pot roast wouldn’t fit in the oven unless I cut the ends off.”
All of that to say, generations followed in this woman’s footsteps for years without any reasoning behind it other than because that’s how they’d always done it.
That’s how they’d always done it…
What is even just as strange is that I can guarantee you it would be challenging for me to go to the store and buy one can of ranch style beans and one can of tomato sauce when everything inside me will be shouting to buy two small cans of tomato sauce.
Twelve years ago I remember very vividly coming to a point in my life where I started asking why? Why do I believe what I believe? Why do I have certain values? Why do I have certain dreams? Now I’m sure I drive my husband to near craziness with all of my whys. Why do you tie your shoes like that? Why do you take the trash out of the trash can like that? Why did you turn down this block? Let me first say that he seems to understand my insanity of trying to grasp the whys, is very patient, and doesn’t write me off as a simply nagging wife in these instances. He has come to realize I truly want to know his reasoning behind how he does things so that if it is an efficient worthwhile process I can shave a few seconds off my daily tasks by taking on the way he does it. (However, with that said…I still cannot master the interesting way he ties his shoes and will forever pick on him about that just to get the cute grin and head shake out of him each time.)
I recently have had thoughts about church in today’s age. I will not elaborate on my extended thoughts here, but leave it at the question of why do we do the things we do? It’s something I’ve been pondering.
Fruits of the Spirit
But then I came to more questions. At times I am extremely impatient, at times unloving, and my self-control is like a floating balloon that I simply can’t always find. When I think about gentleness I think of my best friend from high school…not me. I wrote them all down today (the fruits of the spirit), looked at them and thought. Okay…I’ve got a lot of joy and a lot of faithfulness in God, but I kept looking and thinking, holy sheesh, why am I okay accepting my impatience or lack of gentleness, self-control and so on and so on?
I remember the first night I became aware of my impatience. I was playing guitar outside at an event and my left hand was freezing. I remember a metal chair, my letter jacket, and no clue what else…other than my realization of impatience and the freezing temperature.
For years and years I have sat in this impatience, a lack of self-control, a lack of gentleness, and so on, simply embracing these shortcomings as a part of my personality because that’s what I’ve always done. At what point do I start asking why and asking God to refine that part of me?
Whatever it is. Parenting. Addiction. Relationships. Greed. Gluttony. Self-righteousness. Gossip. Corrupt talk. Idolatry. Lack of joy. Lack of peace. Lack of goodness. Peace. Faith. Love. You name it. Maybe we should explore a bit and realize maybe just because we’ve done __________ for years, that we don’t have to continue doing __________ for any longer.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23