Friday, August 23, 2013

Leftover Hash

I am blessed to have a husband who will eat just about anything, including leftovers, and he will never complain about it. The price of food is pretty high here in the Canary Islands, and being budget minded nothing goes to waste in our kitchen. Stale bread becomes bread crumbs for meatloaf, leftover potatoes or vegetables will find their way into a casserole or soup, and I enjoy the challenge of being creative and resourceful.

I enjoy occasionally making "hash" with leftovers--the day after Thanksgiving we will put leftover turkey and dressing in a frying pan, along with leftover gravy, and make a delicious concoction. However, you can only reheat hash so many times until it will finally become unappetizing, changing quality in its flavor,  or become dry. I can tell leftovers are past their prime when my husband will reluctantly try to eat it, but he kind of pushes it around on his plate, not wanting to say anything--but when I am not looking he will be giving a few bites to our dog, or just quietly scrape it into the trash.

On occasion I find myself serving up "hash" in my conversations. Perhaps it is a womanly trait, as we tend to think about personal relationships more than men, or dwell on the past, thinking about what we said or did.

I am blessed with a husband who is a fairly good listener, but most women complain and get frustrated that their husbands don't listen to them, or that it doesn't "register." My husband is my best friend, companion, and counselor in this life--but even his patience eventually wears out if I continually rehash the past in our conversations. After 31 years of marriage, I am still learning to think before I speak--and stop myself before I "rehash" problems that I have already discussed.

In the heat of an argument there are certain topics or incidences from the past that I pull out of my arsenal to make or prove a point. Sometimes I think I could have been a pretty good lawyer--I am skilled at defending myself with arguments from the past.

I am being transparent, but if we are honest with ourselves, we all have some of that in us, otherwise marriage and personal relationships wouldn't require so much work. This not only applies to marriage, but also in the ministry and in our churches.

The apostle Paul said it best when he wrote to the Philippian church, "...this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13,14

Should we forget everything about the past? Not at all. We can learn from it, and the Bible encourages us to remember many things--study the words remember, remembrance, recall, etc. in your concordance. In the epistle of  II Timothy 1:5,6 Paul writes, "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that is in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God...."

However, there is a time to forget the past and move on. We can not dwell of the things that we can not change about the past. Yesterday's mistakes have been made, and of course we live with the consequences, but we have to press on. How much mental and emotional energy do we waste on wishing we could go back and do something differently? We have to focus on making this day the best with what we have. I am thankful that the Lord's mercies and compassions are new every day.