The following post represents one of my Reflections in turning 40, otherwise known as “Forty-flections”.
Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015 – Breakfast time.
Finally!!! It felt so good to eat! I had been battling a bad tummy bug since Sunday afternoon. The night before, I had a fever, but it broke Sunday morning. However, some time after eating lunch, I was just doubled down on the couch, experiencing very gaseous pain all the way into the night time. Very early Monday morning, I couldn’t hold it in, and well…let’s just say that I felt better afterwards. My tummy just sang, “Love Me, Tender”…cuz that’s how it felt. So, Wednesday, I was well enough and felt daring enough to eat something more substantial after eating soup and crackers all day on Tuesday. Somehow, a half cup of rice, a fried egg, and a small piece of ham for breakfast was a sufficient feast after my bout with a bug. And I was thankful for what little I was able to eat. It wasn’t a lot…but it was enough to get me through.
Which got me thinking about some other things that aren’t “a lot”…but “just enough”.
Sometimes people ask me, “How do you like your job?” Honestly, I think many of us can answer that question with, “Sigh. It’s a job.” I’m not where I’d like to be. Most of what I do is stuff I’d rather not do. The commute is horrendous. The pay’s not high enough….ever. It’s no one’s dream job. My wife wants me to find another job…one that can take me (and her) to different places around the world, one that pays so much more so she can stay home, so that we can buy a much bigger house…on a much bigger lot…so we can have a large garden and fruit trees and chickens, have enough for food storage, pay the bills, the kids’ lessons, and still have enough to help send money to her aging mother back home who has no pension, no savings, no social security, no retirement, have enough to help out her sister too, have enough to help save for our kids’ future education and activities, and even have enough to save for our retirement and all the activities she’d like to do when we retire.
The more I think about the abundance she’d like to have…and my current inability to provide for that future vision of abundance…the more I wonder why I am where I am right now.
But…You know what?
I can’t seem to bog myself down in that future. I just can’t. Maybe it’s the Filipino deep within me…the one that, for some reason, doesn’t know how to plan for that future because he can’t see that future. It’s the Filipino that lives for the current day, and maybe for the current week. Maybe it’s the Bahala Na attitude…which basically means I let go of the future and let it take care of itself while I try to manage what’s going on right now and eventually things work out somehow. It’s the attitude that somehow trusts a power much greater than my own, and to trust that greater power to provide for what I need.
After the children of Israel left Egypt with Moses and travelled 40 years in the wilderness towards the land the Lord promised for them, there came a time when they complained about what they’d eat…just because there was so many of them. As a result, the Lord gave them manna…miraculously appearing upon the ground each day (Exodus 16). It was gathered, ground and pounded into cakes, or eaten raw. It still needed work in order for it to be eaten, but it was just enough for the day. You had to do it again everyday except for the day before the Sabbath, which required you to do twice the amount of work in behalf of the Sabbath day. Then, there came a time when the people got tired of the manna and complained for God to give them meat instead (Numbers, Chapter 11). Disappointed by their ingratitude, he gave them quail. And, boy, did He give them quail!
18 …”therefore the Lord will give you flesh, and ye shall eat.
19 Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days;
20 But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the Lord which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?
And out of that abundance of quail…because they complained to Him for taking them out of Egypt where they had good food to eat, and that they didn’t have enough, and weren’t grateful for the manna that He graciously and generously gave them…when they gathered all the quail and ate them, he caused a plague to run through them. The people that lusted for the meat….died, and were buried.
Take what you want out of that.
Here’s my take:
This job that I have right now…how I got to it, the people I’m with, the stuff I’m doing….there’s a reason why I’m here. I didn’t land here on my own. This job is my manna from the Lord. He gave this to me. I just have to work everyday to benefit from it. Sure, there are times when I feel like it’s the same old thing over and over. I’m sure that eating Manna over and over wasn’t exactly your dream meal either. But you worked for it. And if you really think about it…the Lord was feeding you. He gave you what you needed for that day. You just have to put forth the effort, the work, every day as well. You couldn’t be lazy in the eyes of the Lord. He wasn’t just gonna hand you everything…and there! You’re all done! No.
Same with this job, with my income, with my home, with where we live and where we work. What we have right now is enough. The Lord provides what we need. I’m afraid that if I wish for more abundance, it would come out of my nose….and the abundance I wish for would be something I’d actually detest. That’s kinda how I feel right now with all the clothes we don’t need, all the toys the kids don’t play with, all the decorations and STUFF and JUNK and CLUTTER that we have that we don’t really use but have to deal with. Every. Single. Day. It’s just coming out of our ears…and we’re finding that we just have to give them away to Thrift Stores or yard sales or the trash can. Would a higher paying job actually be the dream job of travel all over the place…or would it mean more hours at the office, more stress in deadlines, more sapping of creativity, more time away from home and my wife and my family? Would more stuff and junk translate to more happiness…or more cleaning up and throwing away…more waste?
I’m grateful for the manna I do have. I have a job. It’s not the best, but it’s enough. I have a home. It’s not big enough, but it’s enough for now. I have provisions for my family, and an income. It never feels like they’re enough, but they are. It may feel like all of these have the same taste over and over again. It may feel like they’ve lost the glamour, the appeal, the “fun”. But I realize that this manna is not from me. It’s given to me. I recognize that I’ve gotta put some work into it as well as some out-of-the-box thinking in order to make it appealing. I recognize that this is where the Lord needs me right now. I recognize that He’s the one feeding me with what I already have. It’s His way of preserving me and my family each day.
The more I recognize that, the more He gives me, and the more He allows me to have to be generous to others.
Manna isn’t about Food.
Manna is the multi-tool that the Lord uses to teach us to Trust Him, Gratitude instead of Complaining, Work instead of Laziness, Self-Discipline instead of Lust, Faith instead of Doubt, Remembering Him and Putting Him First, all while showing us that He can Provide for whatever our needs are as we make this Journey in our Wilderness of Faith. Manna is about allowing God to be our God, and disciplining ourselves from lusting the things of this world and recognizing that God can provide what we need…and more…if we let him. Manna is about seeing His hand in our life, everyday.
Manna isn’t just bread.
It’s about “being bred”
By the Bread of Life,
even Jesus Christ.
And That is Enough.
– The LDS Lamplighter