20. Maybe there’s a better way of doing things

When I was a child, I liked eating over-easy eggs or, as I called them, ‘dipping eggs,” due to my brother’s practice of dipping a piece of toast into the golden, liquid yoke (my mom makes her eggs “easy,” or: just barely “set”).

While I enjoyed an egg for breakfast, the action of consuming the running yoke actually appalled my childhood senses–something about its oozing nature reminded me of blood or mucus, so I would gingerly consume the egg white all around the yoke, and leave the unbroken membrane on my plate (much to the disappointment and frustration of my mother who had five children to attend and no time to spare for picky eaters).

Once, when visiting my grandmother, my grandmother offered to make me an egg, and asked how I liked my eggs prepared. I told her, honestly, that I liked “dipping” eggs, but (so she wouldn’t be alarmed): only the white part; the yoke made me uneasy.

My grandmother did something unprecedented: she made me an egg, but separated the yoke out, and presented me with a fried egg white.

This should have delighted me, seeing that she gave me exactly what I wanted.

Conversely, though: I was astounded (how did she do it? Black magic??) and uncomfortable. I remember nibbling the sides, but still leaving a bit of the egg on the plate, as I always did at home, lest I should accidentally consume some of the yoke.

I think my grandmother told my mother, later, that I had barely eaten at all.

I have a small box of business-sized cards that I keep by my bed. They feature questions, probably written by psychologists, and are supposed to prompt introspection and discovery. I won the box in a raffle of assorted prizes, a few months ago; here and there, I’ll read one or two before I turn in for the night.

A few nights ago, a card commented that we often select things and jobs and partners that are familiar to us. Now, familiar is not necessarily best for us, it’s not even most pleasurable or most delightful, nor most fulfilling, nor most challenging…it’s simply…familiar. The card gently mentioned that stretching beyond familiarity could unlock things that are better in the long run.

This applied, of course, to childhood patterns and wounds, that kind of thing, and, I might add, was a goodly reminder to pray for both release from unhealthy patterns and for new, healthy patterns to form.

I did remember, though, that time I sat at my grandmother’s kitchen table, and refused the very thing I wanted to eat…just because I wasn’t used to it.

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