What We Need

You have everything you need was the theme of our church retreat this week. Apparently it’s going to take me more than one day to master that concept.

To find out how truly bad you are at knowing what you need, go to a buffet. I went to two very good ones in one fabulous day this week.

In case you’ve forgotten, at a buffet, all the food is infinitely replenished. You cannot run out. The person in front of you cannot take the last piece of Tandoori chicken because the kitchen will bring more. Because it is a buffet.

Is my reaction to this state of abundance relief, peace, and contentment? Do I think, wow, there is more food here than I and everyone else in the room could ever eat in one sitting, what a wonderful, relaxing, rare, and magical situation in which to find myself?

If you guessed that the answer to the above questions is yes, thank you. You must be new to reading the blog. Alas, you are also mistaken.

My first instinct is to load up my plate to ensure that I get my fair share. I worry that I won’t get enough when too much is guaranteed. I avoid painful overeating only by holding myself strictly in check, like Dr. Strangelove fighting down his arm as it tries to salute. (If you haven’t seen Dr. Strangelove, you’re leading a deprived life. You can find out how deprived by watching this clip.)

So my judgment of what I need may be a tiny bit off, say three or four stomach’s worth. I might try remembering the buffet problem when my mind is working to convince me I can’t live without the latest whizbang whoozewutsit.

Of course if it’s a chocolate whoozewutsit, bring on the buffet.

3 thoughts on “What We Need

  1. That’s a funny one! I think you are way ahead of the game, because I don’t think I actually ever realized I couldn’t run out of food at a buffet!

  2. I think you could really find something interesting if you polled people, wording the question even as narrowly as, “I worry about my response to the abundance of food at a buffet because_________.” It would have to be deeper than “my stomach might end up hurting” (or, in my little brother’s case “I will most certainly end up vomiting”), or “I might gain weight.” One might find some answer that transfers into radically different settings such as sibling or work relationships, or use of money, television, and internet. I wonder whether “not getting my fair share” and “not getting enough” is something you see elsewhere. _Could_ the question function that way???

  3. Also, they run out of specific food all the time when I go to buffets. Or, oddly enough, the drunk or lugubrious or talkative people join my table/company (even though I’ve never gone to one alone). I hadn’t thought about this aggregation of experiences. So would my blank get filled as “because its abundance fails and gets oddly interrupted”? But re-realizing now that I do it to myself has to count for something! Right, Universe?

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