While I was under the weather I spent too much time surfing the internet, looking at other cooking and recipe websites. I admit I got a little discouraged. There are so many food blogs out there and they are so beautiful! Gorgeous studio-quality photography, recipes that turn out delicious, beautiful foods that look so appetizing I just want to lick the food off of the screen. And the lists of ingredients… ACH! Some of the recipes out there, it would take half of my food budget for the week just to make a single meal. I admire these other writers so much, but they do intimidate me. My food is often not half as beautiful as the stuff I see on other blogs. My photos, when I remember to take them, look like they were shot by a 10-year-old. Not a 45-year old. I worry that my recipes are not as reliable, that they have too many ingredients, that they aren’t as pretty to look at, that they take too much time to prepare, that they aren’t healthy enough, that I’m not careful enough about gluten and dairy. The list goes on and on.
Especially when I’m sick, my brain gets all fuzzy and it’s far too easy to get discouraged because I’m already under the weather. Anyway, when I logged online today, to finally answer your comments, I got a nice inoculation to my pity party. I feel encouraged that what I’m doing has it’s place and that I am following God’s will for me, simply by showing up and writing about my meager style of living. The bible says that we should be “In the World, But Not Of the World.” At least I’ve always been taught that’s what is says, although when I went looking for a bible verse that said this exact thing I couldn’t find one. So I guess it’s a paraphrase, or summary of several verses that say about the same thing.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.–John 15:19
Anyway, being in the world, I think refers to our physical presence on the earth, living our physical lives, doing all the normal stuff like the dishes, the laundry, toting children here and there, changing diapers, preparing meals, all the general business of living.
Then being of the world, means allowing all of the bazaar modern beliefs to influence our manner of life and even more so, our spiritual life. Our physical existence is in the world, but our spiritual existence is focused on God and the Bible and not on the temporary and faddish notions of our current culture. For instance, my self-esteem comes from God, not from my ability to replicate beautiful pictures of fancy food that tempt me on the internet. My spirituality is based on the bible, not on how much better I might feel about myself if I bought myself that sexy new exercise/dance DVD of very fit, half naked people dancercising to the latest hits.
Our modern culture has some pretty messed up ideas about what our priorities should be. If I subscribed to all of the notions I see on TV, especially in women’s daytime programing and commercials, I would be a very sad puppy, because there is no way I could ever measure up to the standards they set.
I was at the Laundromat a few weeks ago, using the dryers because it had been raining for a week so I couldn’t hang any clothes up on the line, and the kids needed clean (dry) underwear. I wash 4 to 6 loads of clothes at home, then load up the car with my wet laundry and head to the Laundromat to use their driers. There’s a television there, and it was on some women’s show where a bunch of different ladies sit around and talk about the world. Well, they were touting the value of this new cosmetic product that would “Energize your eyes.” Apparently having tired, worn-out looking eyes is something I should be avoiding. I didn’t know that, so it was news to me.
I heard that statement, and I turned to my oldest son, who was there helping me fold the dry laundry, and I burst out laughing so hard I nearly had to sit down. We folded sheets together, and listened to these glamorous women talk about how important it is to have revitalized and energized eyes and how one’s eyes could age you faster than anything, and he and I laughed until we almost couldn’t breathe. Of all the priorities in the whole wide world, I’m pretty sure that Energized Eyes is about my lowest one. I’m lucky to remember to put hand cream on my face after a shower.
Then the women went on to tell me how economical it was since it was less than $200 a bottle, and that it was a real miracle worker and worth so much more than that. I thought about my $2 bottle of hand cream from the Dollar Store and looked at that tiny bottle of Eye Energizer and kept laughing.
It made me wonder who is the target audience for this show, because I am a relatively average homemaker, and it sure as heck isn’t me. Who has time to watch these shows? Who has enough money to buy Eye Energizer ointment for $200 a pop? Who is so worried about their eyes giving away their age that they want to change the appearance of their eyes to make them look more energetic? Who is so worried about the normal, natural process of aging that they feel compelled to disguise it? Who is so ashamed of being 40 or 50 or 60 or older that they want to appear 10 to 20 years younger than they actually are? What is the benefit? Will people love me more if I appear younger? Will my children respect me more? Will my chores be easier? Will it make strangers want to suddenly be my best friend? Will my peers admire me more if my eyes are more energized?
I honestly don’t know.
I am still baffled by the purpose of this product, and even more so, by the fact that half a dozen celebrities sitting around a coffee table chatting about such ridiculous notions is popular enough that a studio will pay them to do it. I’d rather sit around my own kitchen table and chat with a girlfriend or two. That seems a lot more entertaining and a lot more uplifting to my spirit. And if my spirit if uplifted, I’m pretty sure it will energize my eyes a darned sight more authentically (and affordably) than rubbing my eyes with $200 ointment.
I think some products are priced so high so that when we buy them we feel like we are more valuable ourselves, since we deserve such a valuable product. Like that old hair-dye commercial says “Because I’m worth it.” To me this just illustrates the screwed up values of modern society. I don’t need to spend a small fortune on ointment to prove my worth. I already know my worth. I am so valuable, and the creator of the entire universe loves me so much, that He sent His son, the only one he ever had, the only one He ever will have, down to the earth, to die, in a terrible way, so that I don’t have to. I’m so valuable, that my Creator allowed his only child to die on the cross, so that I can live with both of them in heaven, for the rest of eternity. To me, that seems a far sight more valuable than a paltry vial of $200 eye ointment. When that bottle of ointment is empty, the owner has to buy more. It’s temporary. The gift of eternal life lasts forever. There is no end to it. It can’t run out.
So anyway, I laughed at the television show with my son. I was reminded of how precious a gift I have in my faith. I looked at some fancy websites and felt sorry for myself. Then I got over my cold and remembered, my lifestyle is not glamorous. It’s not especially entertaining. The food we eat isn’t beautiful and it’s not always restaurant quality. But it does nourish us. It tastes pretty darned good for the most part. We’re not in debt, we live within our means. We have a warm, dry house, instant access to all the water we care to use, and I’m lucky enough to laugh with my children while doing simple homey chores together like folding the sheets. All in all, I’d rather have all of this, than especially expensive, and energetic eyes.