As I am preparing to write this reflection, we at Saints Philip and James Church are getting ready to present a leadership workshop to some of our high school youth. One of the lessons is Will Bowen’s A Complaint Free World. There is a story he tells that I would like to share with you.
There are two workers at a construction site and each time they sit down to eat lunch the second man complains, “A meatloaf sandwich, I hate meatloaf!” This goes on for three days when finally, the first worker says, “Why don’t you ask you wife to make you something different?” The other worker responds, “But I make my own lunch!” Sometimes we continue to make our own lunch and complain about it.
Although the story is funny, there is a lot of truth in it and many of us don’t realize that we are making our own lunch and blaming others for the results. I am sure you have heard it said that sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. We can become so negative that our heads and hearts get filled with self-doubt, fear, and the inability to speak our truth. We then begin to blame others for our own “unhappiness with our lunch.”
When I recently read the story of Martha and Mary, I took another look at Martha. Before, when I heard the story, I was in Martha’s corner…somebody had to do the work! Now, as I studied the situation, I realized that Martha was making her own lunch! Perhaps she was the better cook or hospitality person, someone who knew how to really run an event. She chose to do the preparing and serving. She was using her talents. Up to that point, she was a star. Things started going south when she began complaining, almost like saying, “Woe is me.” She was making her own lunch! If only she could have kept serving with a smile on her face and a song in her heart.
I must admit I have made my own lunch many times. Now when I say I will do something, and it starts to get hard, I remember it was me who chose to say yes to the invitation. “Don’t start making your own lunch,” I remind myself. I don’t think I am the only one who has had these types of experiences. Perhaps you can spend some time this week and see if you are making your own lunch and complaining about it.
Blessings and stay cool.
Photo: Sr. Kathleen Maciej, provincial superior, enjoying her lunch during a pilgrimage in France, arranged by CHRISTUS Health, a co-sponsored ministry of our Congregation. She did not make her own lunch.