Trader O’s


Evy’s favorite food is the cereal, Trader O’s. I don’t understand it. The circular shapes are tasteless. Like little crumbs of cardboard. I continue to fill her food tray with flavorful morsels of raspberries, chicken sausage, and cheesy eggs, but she always looks longingly up at the bright yellow box.

Even when she has a handful of O’s in front of her, she still wants more. Evy twists her body and points up at the O’s, which are placed among our other cereals in the kitchen pantry. She excitedly grunts, “mmm, mmm, mmm” as she waits for me to follow her orders. When I don’t comply, she gets frustrated and purses her lips. Her eyebrows come together and she starts to breathe loudly through her tiny nostrils.

I try to reason with her. “Look Evy! You already have some O’s on your tray. Enjoy what you have before you beg for more.”

She gives me her signature scowl and continues to point. “This isn’t enough mom. I want more!” (I imagine her saying).

Recently I’ve realized just how much of a hypocrite I am when I say those words “enjoy what you have before you beg for more.” So many times, instead of savoring the abundance of blessings in my life, I’m pointing at them and asking God for an overflow.

For example, when I was pregnant with Evy, I was fortunate enough to get a couple gift certificates for prenatal massages. Instead of appreciating the moment and allowing my mind to rest, most of the time I was thinking something like “oh sad, she’s already done with my shoulders.” ¬†Or, “this is going by too fast, I should really spring for the longer session next time.”

If I was outside of myself, listening to my thoughts, I’m sure I would give a disapproving glare and say “Look Mick! You’re already getting something you want. Enjoy what you have before you beg for more!”

It’s embarrassing to admit how I can be discontent when getting something as frivolous as a massage. I mean really, close to 2,000 people are dead and thousands have been displaced because a typhoon ravaged through their country. If people in the Philippines heard me complaining about the amount of minutes in my massage, they’d probably slap me across the face.

How can I be discontent when I have shelter, food, family, life, and so much more? Beyond that, how can I be discontent when I don’t deserve any of the things I have? They are all gifts from God.

If I had a tray full of Trader O’s in front of me and each one represented a blessing in my life, the scenario would probably play out similarly to Evy’s snack sessions. I’d pack them all in my mouth to the point where I couldn’t fit another crumb inside, and with my cheeks bulging, I’d point at the box and grunt, “MORE!”

In those moments we forget that many people’s trays are empty. Their cheeks are sunken in and they are opening up their hands and asking for SOMETHING instead of MORE.

I pray that as I teach Evy the value of a contented heart, I can learn to have one too.

I also pray that we can all learn to help those that do, in fact, need more.

Here’s one way to do just that.