When I grew up Sunday night meant family dinners, and it was something I tried to keep for my own daughters – even if life kept getting in the way. Tonight, sitting amid the last hours of a peaceful Sunday night with my dog, I find myself smiling and relishing some odd leftovers of life, minus the meatloaf and I am every bit as satisfied.
If there was one thing I learned growing up, it was that leftovers would make a return appearance at our table, just like my parents and me. Many times they were even better tasting than the first round, which like life, made a lot of sense. The spices and experiences, the marinade, stewing and simmering in their own juices always brought out what would have otherwise been missed. Who knew such wisdom could be shared between people and a New England boiled dinner?
However, just as the leftovers of a solid meal and the experience of having been kicked down more than once satisfy a need in us, it is the actual leftovers of those we love that are the most over looked, and more often than not never served. When we lose someone in our life there is always an empty plate moment, a reorganization of space and time and before anyone can say a word, there is that all important question – “What did I get?”
Yes, after the dirt has been spread and the boxes packed away, it always seems to come down to the physical left behinds, those things overshadowing the important emotional leftovers. Who got the china? Was there any money? Who got the collection? I was promised that where is it? Even more unfortunate, is the fact that unlike the seasoned and tenderized meal held over for a second appearance, once those we love are gone there are not additional offerings, no more seasoned love and tender moments that once held any possession dear.
How wonderful it would be if at the end of life as we prepare to cross into the next level of our soul consciousness, instead of hearing “What did I get from them” we would hear “I know what I got from them.”
I learned how to love
I learned how to ride a bike and how it hurt when I fell off
I learned salt and sugar weren’t the same thing in a recipe, even if the effort and love behind them were
I learned a screwdriver and hammer can fix almost anything
I learned being sick or hurting was always better with my mom around
I learned the value of a relationship through the ability to apologize
I learned how five minutes of love made all the hours in my day worth while
I learned God shines through elderly and innocent eyes when we aren’t looking
I learned the smallest gesture brings the greatest satisfaction
I learned nothing can replace the honest love of a parent or the touch of their hand
I learned in life anything is possible if we try, even if it didn’t always work out
I learned through respect my father’s eyes said everything I ever needed to know
I learned death is forever and we can’t get another minute
I learned even if I didn’t understand why, my parents did and they always stood behind me
I learned not to judge someone by their mistakes, but by their heart
Knowing where we have been, who helped us get there and the determination to move forward with those emotional leftovers is what makes life a banquet. And should there ever be a doubt it’s easy to look back and remember where there’s a will, there is a way or in my case there are always pits on the plate but olive you forever.