Life is a Tossed Salad

October 13, 2008

Tonight, my friend Ann and I went to a local salad bar for dinner. I said, "My salad tastes so good. I’m really enjoying it." I quickly added, as though astonished, "Of course it’s good – I choose it myself!" Just then, I realized that every aspect of our life is something we choose ourselves. If we resent, or dislike the life we live, then we also contain the power to change it.

You’ll Like it, and You’ll Eat it
When we grew up, we learned the stern lesson of eating whatever our mother put before us. If we didn't clean our plate, then we received admonishment reminding us of starving children somewhere in the world. Personally, I could never figure that one out! My childhood mind always wanted to pack up my food and somehow send it to the anonymous children in some unknown country – not out of compassion, but I thought if I fed them, I'd get a break from hearing about it! As we grow older, etiquette and politeness direct us to graciously smile and nibble at unpalatable food and circumstances served to us.

This type of upbringing leaves us with a bad taste in our mouths! We're taught never to question, never to complain, and never to dare to ask for something better or different. When we face what's "on our plate," we resign to accepting the bowl of life set before us. Yet when we dare to reach beyond our placemat for something more preferable, we find a cornucopia waiting for us.

Buffet of Choices in Life
The salad bar concept helps us to recognize the bounty life makes available. Everything you could possibly want, awaits you at the table. All you need do is get up, walk over, and put it on your plate. Pretty simple, right? For many of us, these prove almost impossible to accomplish. We operate in such life-restricting ideologies that confine us to our table, fully prepared to ingest the components of life that we really don't want, but feel destined to endure. Is life really about "getting it over with?" Surely the options set before you, only steps away from wherever you are seated in life, and only moments away from enjoying, offer you more than merely a toleration of the experience of living fully.

Salad Dressing
From creamy to oily, to plain lemon, or vinaigrette, we top off salads with a little extra zing of flavor. Lettuce by itself bores even rabbits from time to time, and the salad we create rouses some sort of emotion in us, as well. Then, do you pour on your dressing or keep it on the side to carefully (and judiciously) dip each forkful into it? The dressing is your cherry-on-top, your lagniappe, your special treat. What in life, do you save for last? Is your precious treat something you fully indulge in, or do you savor it and partake of it sparingly? The dressing of your life covers everything in your life, like each piece of lettuce or tomato. Each aspect of our choices makes contact with your passion, and your passion holds all of your selections together and makes life worthwhile.

Every salad bar offers dessert. Like life, the good stuff waits for us at the end of the line. Or does it? Sometimes we wait until we're completely full of raw veggies and mayonnaise salads before we consider the possibility of something pretty darn good. Other times, the dried up brownie or curled up at the edges Jello present an unappealing finale to our stringent meal. Every so often, we'll see a child take dessert first – just to be sure he or she has enough room to fit it in. When you want the best in life, don't postpone your joy! Take a heaping plate of what you want to experience and go back for seconds.

Life waits patiently for us. Spirit wonders how long we'll wait before we actually ask life for something better. Suffering, enduring, tolerating the plate delivered to us by the circumstances of our life, offers little righteousness or reason for admiration. Making the best of what life gives you, either on a silver tray or a paper plate, never resulted in anyone living a profound life. Pick your passion and pour it all over everything you ever wanted your life to express. As it seeps over and around your work, your play and your emotions, remember you chose it – and you can choose again. Remember to enjoy all the sweetness that life offers, too. Enjoy it now. Your table will be cleared before you know it!

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