When my kids were younger, I would frequently make them a delicious, nutritious meal that I like to call Many-things-on-a-plate. Many-things-on-a-plate was created out of necessity. It started when I lacked any single “meal-like” food to make something like a real salad or a sandwich. So instead of letting the kids go hungry while we shopped, I threw a bunch of diverse foods in small quantities on a plate: a couple of pieces of turkey pepperoni, a slice of cheese, a few raw vegetables, some cheese cracker crumbs, and half an old apple. Many-things-on-a-plate became established.
Last year, I had to resort to this type of meal as a standby. Each child ended up with a small handful of baby carrots as part of their meal. My kids are not carrot eaters. In fact, after one small bite, they complained.
“These are gross,” my daughter said.
“They’re carrots,” I answered. “They’re not supposed to taste good.”
My son found a solution in the fridge: ranch salad dressing.
Returning to the table, he poured a generous amount on his plate and dipped a carrot.
“Ack!” he spit. “There’s something wrong with the dressing!”
To make a long story short, it turns out that my son had dipped carrots that had expired six months earlier into salad dressing that expired four years earlier.
Okay, yes, you’re right. I’m not Father-of-the-Year material here. But that’s not the point. And before you get all uppity, you have expired things in your refrigerator. You do. Unless you just recently went through it, you probably have a science experiment or two growing in the shadows of the fruit cake your Aunt Ethel gave you for Christmas in 1996.
Here’s my point. Sometimes we hold on to things long past the expiration date. Some things should have been thrown out a long time ago because not only do they fail to bring us any satisfaction, they have become toxic. Things like:
- resentments and grudges long after the time you should have granted forgiveness
- fears that no longer apply to your life circumstances
- relationships that hurt you physically, emotionally or spiritually
What other non-tangible things do people hold onto even when to do so invites trouble?