Whether Catholic or Protestant, Christian or adherent to some other faith, almost everyone is familiar with the words, “Give us this day, our daily bread,” taken from the Lord’s prayer (Matt. 6:11). Interestingly, I heard this “preached on” once, a long, long time ago, where the minister explained that we were asking the Lord to give us the bread we needed to sustain ourselves for that day. An answer to this prayer did not necessarily mean that we would be provided with enough money in our bank account to go shopping at Costco, where it is usually impossible to walk out the door for under several hundred dollars. It also did not necessarily mean that our cupboards would be full of food. However, the answer to a request for today’s bread might, in fact, mean that if one is careful (and it helps if there is a smidgeon of creativity involved), there just might be enough food in the cupboard, or enough money in the bank account (or your son’s ZIPLOCK bag, if you live in my world), to meet one’s needs for the day.
Having begun my quest to feed myself for $5.30 per day during Lent, I felt it was only fair to try it for a few days before I made my first report. It has been interesting, to say the least, and enlightening to the extreme. You will recall that the point of my Lenten “project” was to develop gratitude for what I have, rather than continually whining about all the things I do not have in life.
WELL . . . although it is only Day 3, I can tell you that I have eaten every single thing I normally eat. For example, I have eaten homemade oatmeal with organic coconut oil, brown sugar and cinnamon, French roast coffee, gumbo (with rice), and romaine salad with toasted walnuts, bleu cheese and homemade balsamic vinaigrette, just for starters. The thing is, in calculating the cost of these foods, I was required to utilize a specific quantity, so that I could break down the cost per serving.
I have a FASCINATING piece of insight to share with you: if a person eats a serving size, as designated on the back of almost every ingredient (and I am not talking about convenience food items; even olive oil lists a serving size as 1 tbsp.), it IS possible to stay on a $5.30 per day food budget. Granted, I cannot cook everything that I want to cook. If I want gulf shrimp (frozen), I am going to pay $9/lb., and even if I eat only 3 oz. (3-4 oz. is considered a serving of most meats), I am still spending $2.25 on that one item, which is almost half of my budget for the day.
So where is the gratitude in this? For me, the gratitude needs to come in appreciating what I have in my life today and not thinking I need to have the things or the answers for tomorrow. Today, all my needs have been met. That is not to say that I shouldn’t be planning and preparing for the future. I should; we all (probably) need to plan and prepare for the future. But to worry and stress about what I need or want tomorrow, and fail to be grateful for what I have today, is simply a waste of time and energy and demonstrates a lack of faith that God is able and willing to meet my needs.
SOOO . . . it’s a good thing Lent is 40 days – I’m afraid it’s gonna take most of that for me to even start to “get” this gratitude thing!!