Saturday, August 11, 2012

The art of making a sandwich

The Art of making a sandwich

I wish I could shirk every duty I have and just go to the beach. 

It’s too bad my middle name is responsible, or this sentence would trail off into nothingness and all you would see are tire marks heading south.  I’m a pretty big homebody.  I love to be at home puttering around, doing laundry (Yes.), and folding said laundry.  For some reason, it gives me satisfaction to watch the creases smoothed out in that wrinkly towel, fold it in thirds, and stack neatly with its towel-mates.  

Must be my semi-OCD rearing its ugly head?

Maybe what I’m tired of is the routine.  Get up, make coffee, drive to work, drive home, make supper, talk to my kids, talk to George, go to bed.  I love the “kids and George” part of that scenario, but the word mundane comes to mind.  I believe this is where people get tired and do dumb things in their lives.  They begin to believe that there is nothing more for them than the everyday minutiae of seconds, hours, and days that blend together like a series of pictures scattered on the floor.

This is where you need to start looking closer.  Minutiae:  tiny details.

I see people being ugly and mean to their loved ones, taking every moment and opportunity to pick and wound.  We start wrapping ourselves up in “self” and look inward at our feelings and hurts.  There is a time for self, a time to find it and free it so we can reach the pinnacle of what we’re striving for.  But, when we become so insular and self-focused, we start to see only what “we” want instead of our loved ones around us.  

“You want me to make you what?  A sandwich?  You have two feet and hands, go make it yourself!” 

We laugh snarkily and feel smug inside because we just told them what they needed to hear, right?  We don’t need to get off the chair and do anything for anyone because they can do it themselves.  

Have we forgotten that love is spoken in many different ways?   That maybe that sandwich equals love and caring to someone else?  I have made thousands of sandwiches.  I have lovingly spread mayonnaise between soft layers of Italian bread, piled turkey or ham gently on top, sliced fat green pickled jalapenos for flavor, halved avocados to add that kick, and finished with a favorite mellow yogurt cheese.  I wrap it up and place it in the same lunch bag as I did yesterday and the day before that.  But to someone I have loved for the past 24 years it means love.  He knows I care about him enough to make him a sandwich.  When he bites into it and tastes the jalapenos and avocado he knows I took the time to cut up what he loves so he could enjoy it.  Just like I know that he goes to work every day for us.   That he takes the time to fix my A/C so my car is blowing cold, refreshing air when the temperature is 95 degrees.  

We need to stop dismissing the minutiae of our lives – what we think is mundane.  I may want to run away to the beach at times, but don’t we all?  I wouldn’t run away without my family at my side.  I wouldn’t become so upset at the little things they do wrong that I would just up and leave, or go hibernate and pout in a room by myself.  We need to start focusing on the little things.  Those long hours they work for us and a happy smiling greeting when they walk in the door.  Don’t pile your cares upon them the minute they walk in.  Have a cup of coffee waiting for them or if a cold beer is what they want then have it chilled and frosty, awaiting that first sip.  It doesn’t empower us to push them away with words that cut to the bone – it empowers us to show love and care.  Because in the end all anyone wants is love and care.  If we choose to withhold it, how can we ever receive it?  I will continue to focus on my beautifully mundane life.  I will make sandwiches, pour cold ice tea, and sit on the porch with my husband and gaze at the fields across from our house.  Every once in a while we will escape to tropical regions where we re-gather ourselves to keep going on.  I will cut up limes and have drinks with my husband and we will laugh as the cool liquid goes down my throat.  I will do my laundry and fold it with the utmost care.  I will water my flower pots so their tiny buds stay hydrated in the wilting heat, and just like those tiny buds, I will water my relationships.  Without water they will die.  Without love our relationships will die.  Get out of your funk, stop looking at what you don’t have and focus on what you DO have.  It’s all in the tiny details.  


Tracy said...

This is amazing and so timely for me. I've been having a lot of the same thoughts. I get into funks, tired of the mundane, wishing I could run away to a beach somewhere --- but in the end I come around in the same circle you describe here, of appreciating the love in my life and the small ways we show it to each other, (I also am the sandwich maker and my husband the fixer of all things broken), and we often pause to realize how very lucky we are.