Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Bowl of Oatmeal

When I was a child, I was greeted almost every morning with a bowl of piping hot oatmeal. On the mornings we didn’t have oatmeal, we would have hot 7-grain cereal or cracked wheat. Every morning it was pretty much the same.

I would try to mask the earthiness of my breakfast with our supply of crystallized honey and Almond Nut Milk (which my mom made from scratch every morning at 5:00 AM). I found that if I took some toast (7-grain, of course), slathered it with butter and honey, then scooped up my cereal with it, I could almost stand the taste. I ate it. I didn’t like it, but I ate it.

On occasion, when my mom would head out of town, my dad would get rebellious and buy some junk, cold cereal – Grape Nuts. Ever eaten that stuff? It’s more like fossilized cardboard!

And then it came time to babysit – oh those families were my salvation. Guess what was in their cupboards? Not oatmeal, that was for sure. There were Cheerios, Golden Grahams, Lucky Charms and if I was really lucky, FRUIT LOOPS.

Oh, give me the cold cereal, baby!

There was no turning back for me. I wanted the good stuff. As soon as I was on my own – no more oatmeal, 7-grain or any other earthy substance for breakfast. I wanted SUGAR. And I got it.

So, I am listening to this story tonight by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. When he asked children in a less fortunate family what they wanted for Christmas, the boy replied, "a bowl of oatmeal".

I thought, this poor, hungry little boy wanted OATMEAL?!!!?

It struck home with me. Maybe because I never wanted oatmeal in my life.

We had our share of hard times growing up. I suppose our finances were worse than my parents ever let on… but there was always food. There was always a warm blanket. I always had socks and shoes (albeit very worn sometimes).

Then I think about my kids (who I sneak oatmeal to in their cookies), I ask them what they want for Christmas. I get answers like “my own computer” a "Playstation", a "dog" (NEVER AGAIN) – expensive stuff. Never anything like a “slinky” or a “rubiks cube”, I can’t imagine a child hungry enough and desperate enough to wish for oatmeal on Christmas day.

I am comfortable. My wants and needs are met. Thanks to the Good Grace of God and hours of hard work by my husband I always have food. I always am warm enough. I have the clothes I need. I have little toys and gadgets that keep me occupied. I am very blessed.

So who am I to withhold what I have from those who need? Who am I to not give to His children when He has given me all? If there is someone out there, wishing for a bowl of oatmeal this Christmas, how dare I sit in my comfortable home and do nothing.

I hope, with all my heart that I will find those needing to be comforted. That I will be able to reach out to those in need. That I will have the courage and faith it takes to step forward and say,”let me help you.” I have a lot of work to do to soften my heart, to step outside my comfort zone. It is easy to write about what I need to do to change. But what will I do tomorrow, when I see the elderly man in the wheelchair at Walmart – the one who is always hanging out by the dumpster, looking cold. What will I do?

If the Good Lord shows me who need the figurative bowl of oatmeal… will I choose to act as His Son, our Savior did?

One thing for sure....

I will never look at oatmeal the same.


S'mee said...

Fabulous post Kathy!

Growing up in our house was...interesting. We were those kids in the neighborhood everyone whispered a lot about. But out of it came much good. Knowing how to line a used shoe with cardboard so the hole is filled, having a hot dog for Thanksgiving, or expecting to eat plain pancakes each meal, everyday for over a month. (I'm not a huge pancake fan..go figure.)

It's a great feeling to find some way to brighten, pass some joy and hope, and especially when one can do it as Santa the dark of night or secretly. Hearts swell on both sides!

I can hear Elder U's voice repeating the call to serve in my head again. Thanks. : )

Erin said...

I heard the story last night, and then when I saw your post title, I wondered if it was related. Thanks for writing this!

Tink said...

What an awesome post Kathy! What a great reminder to be thankful for even oatmeal and it gave me goosebumps to hear that "want" from a boy on Elder Uchtdorf's talk. Thanks for the humble reminder. Have a great Monday.

heather said...

Such a great insight. Thank you.

Melissa said...

What a sweet message and a beautiful reminder of how very blessed we are.

CJ, the Purple Diva said...

THIS WAS AWESOME! I heard that talk to, and I thought, how sad that the poor child wanted for food. I am so spoiled. I want for no food. I try with all of my heart to find those who are in need of "the bowl of oatmeal."
I loved this. Thanks for sharing! I may give you some linky love on my page for this one! said...

Yeah Gracie LOVES oatmeal. It's a speacial treat when I actually make it cuz she's used to cold cereal. I can hardly eat hot cereal without toast now.;)
I really loved this post and PRes. Uchtdorf's message.