by Tasha Halpert
There is an old saying that you don’t realize how much you miss something until it is gone. What I am missing right now isn’t actually gone, it’s just that I can’t have it at this time. If it hurts to chew anything that presents a hard surface it makes no sense to ingest it. No matter how lovely the experience of eating certain things normally might be, right now I have to avoid them. This is bringing me to an interesting realization.
This past week I had extensive dental surgery and as a result I cannot eat much of the food I am used to eating. Most especially I cannot enjoy the snacks I normally indulge in. While I don’t consider myself ungrateful for what I have, I am realizing that I have been taking for granted the nuts. seeds and crunchy vegetables I routinely eat almost every day. It always makes me stop and think when I realize that I am not acting the way I believe I am.
Because gratitude even for small things is a constant theme in my life I didn’t realize I was taking my snacks for granted until I had to do without them. Between meals when I am occasionally feeling like having a nibble I am used to reaching for a jar, taking a few nuts or seeds out, and enjoying them. I can’t do that now without suffering for it. This makes me realize that I took these for granted, not taking the time to notice or express my enjoyment in gratitude.
Normally I conscientiously acknowledge my gratitude for the lovely warm shower I can so easily take morning, evening or even both. I have a friend who lived for several years on an island where hot water showers were non existent, and I often think of this when I turn on the hot water for mine. When I get into my cozy bed at night I almost always remember to be grateful for its softness and for the comfortable pillows with their clean pillow cases.
So many in this world are homeless with no simple amenities like a comfortable bed and a shower. I am truly grateful for my home and for my life. I make an effort to be aware of these and to express my gratitude frequently. I do normally say a prayer of thanks when I sit down to eat. However, in the past when I reached for a favorite snack I seldom thought to be grateful for it. I believe that once I am able to indulge in chewy and crunchy snacks, I will certainly be reminded by this experience to express my thanks.
Besides avoiding their calories I have benefited in this other way from doing without some of my favorite munchies. It’s strange, too, because I did not anticipate this aspect of my experience. There’s plenty of tasty food I can eat, and I am not deprived of anything important in the way of nourishment. I can even indulge in the ice cream of which I usually allow myself only small servings. So I really have nothing to complain about. It’s silly of me to feel I am doing without, yet human nature is such that we too often want what we can’t have even though we can have something just as satisfying.