cake sliceSome years ago, at a ladies’ luncheon, I sat next to a woman named Sandra. I was fascinated watching her reach across her untouched salad plate to snip off a bit of chocolate icing from the slice of layer cake at her place. Next thing I knew she was pulling off flakes of the cake itself and soon she had polished off the entire piece before touching even one lettuce leaf. Then she raised her brow and stole a glance at my dessert.

“Didn’t your mother teach you to eat your veggies first–and then dessert?” I teased, trying to strike up a conversation.  She turned full-face and let me have it–big time.  “My mother is dead,” she shot back.  “I do what I want.”

Well, I guess you do!

We continued our meal in silence–salad, dainty rolls with soft butter, beef medallion with whipped potatoes, and sautéed caramel carrots.  To me the entree was worth much more than dessert.  I pushed my cake aside and waited for a pot of mint tea.

The woman eyed my dessert again.  “Aren’t you going to eat your cake?” she asked.  “It’s heavenly.”

“I stay away from desserts,” I declared with pride.

“You do?  Why on earth would you do that?”

“I’m not fond of chocolate, and I, well, I’ve lost my taste for heavy sweets. I prefer fresh fruit or a fruit pie.”

I doubt she heard a word I said.  This woman coveted my cake.  She was speaking to me, but her attention was on the delicacy in front of me.

“Would you like to have my cake and eat it too?” I quipped.

“Yes, I would. I was about to ask . . .   Thank you.”

She reached over, clutched the plate, swept it in front of my face, and set it down at her place.  She devoured every morsel, every crumb, every dab of frosting.  I was afraid she was going to lick the plate clean.

She heaved a sigh of satisfaction and pushed the plate away.  Soon the server whisked it off and that was that.  “I’d rather have dessert than dinner anytime,” she said.

So I noticed.

Food.  We love it. We loathe it. We judge it.  We control it.  We make up rules about it.  We make up lies about it.  And we form opinions about people like Sandra, whose eating habits are different from ours.

I’m guilty of all of the above.  I’ve been a student of healthy living for thirty years and I know a thing or two about food groups and food groupies. I also know a thing or two about soy milk and seaweed, bran and brown rice.  And so what!

As I grow older, I’m realizing I do not need to be the food police for friends and family.  They are more interested in being with me, and me with them over a bowl of soup or a slice of pie, than hearing my latest foray into the world of grains and greens and their impact on digestion and elimination!

And so I am getting it right–finally–in my older years.  I am paying more attention to the people I’m with than the food they are eating.  I know what’s right for me. I don’t know what’s right for them. I can leave that to God, as well.  My life is so much easier when I stop judging and controlling!

Just desserts!  I’d received my share that day.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  (Proverbs 3:5).



Just Desserts — 16 Comments

  1. Another awesome tale Karen and a BIG lesson here for us all. Thank you.
    Yes! Best to mind one’s own business and learn not to make judgements ….. but not an easy task all of the time for sure.
    With this wisdom in getting older we become more accepting and gracious I do believe.
    You, my friend, are a wonderful example of both of those qualities and are loved for being so wise and generous.

    • Thanks, Kathleen. You’re right–not always easy to stay out of other people’s business . . . :-)Thanks for your warm words of encouragement.

    • Wish we were close enough to have a meal together, Marie. I’m glad we stay in touch.

  2. Very clever and oh so true, Karen. Sometimes we call judgmentalism discernment, but I think we know the difference. If we don’t, that’s sadder still. I think I am going to go polish off that piece of cake that Michael left. He’s out of town, and will spoil by the time he gets back! That’s what I will tell him. Do you think he will discern different motives?! =] Love you dear one!

    • I’m chuckling over your cute comment about Michael and the piece of cake. Let me know if he can discern what you did! 🙂

  3. Man, can I relate to this one. It’s hard watching people you care about stuffing their face with junk that could kill em. HARD. They placate me most of the time with their agreements and nods and then devour that same piece of cake. LOL. Sometimes I get THE look but sometimes I get a thankful acknowledgement and smile. Would sure like to be a mind reader (or maybe not huh?) Proverbs 3:5, 6 is my fav verse in the Bible.

    • I’m with you on this one, Jim. Have you noticed that some church groups are also ‘guilty’ of bad-news potlucks? 🙂

  4. I have heard it said “Life is short, eat dessert first” My Dad loved my Mom’s fried apple pies and also the Little Debbie crispy long cookies covered in chocolate and called them his “quitting sticks”~~he had one after almost every meal! He was almost 97 when he died. I am not recommending this (smile) but I love the comparison of the two points.
    Blessings with love, Margaret

  5. The dessert lady sounded like she was in a lot of pain. I suspect the cake was her medication. There can be so much behind the “why” of things that people do which are unwise. You’re so right that it’s the relationship that counts. Bless you!

    • I agree with you, Grace. We all have our stresses. And we don’t need to add more with our judgments.

  6. Karen, I’ll take your unwanted chocolate any time ! 😉 Yes, I’m learning to keep my mouth shut, too, except to pray. It works better anyway. Thanks for a well written reminder to stop judging others.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Michele. You will get a kick out of this. I allow myself one small square of chocolate a day!! (now that I heard dark chocolate is actually ‘good’ for me)

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