February 5, 2018

A story about bread.

Photo by Karolina Szczur on Unsplash
Let me tell you a quick story about bread. Yes, you read that right, bread. And no, this isn't becoming a food blog. Don't worry.

Last Wednesday, I made chili for our weekly Wednesday Night Supper, which is attended by a handful of ex-pats working and living in Romania. I had some really delicious bread leftover so I brought it with me on a quick trip to Cluj-Napoca on Thursday and Friday. I knew I'd need a snack on the 3.5 hour bus ride and this bread is too delicious to be wasted. So I carried it with me on the bus, but I didn't eat it. I carried it around town, thinking I'd get hungry along the way, but I didn't eat it. On the second day, I knew I probably needed to throw it away, but for some reason, I couldn't. Again, I thought I'd eat some of it throughout the day, but I didn't. I thought that I might encounter someone who needed a bit more than I did, but I didn't.

Finally, after carrying this bread around for a day and a half, I saw a trash can and decided that it was probably time to let the bread go. As Adela and I walked towards the trash can, I remarked on how I felt so bad to be throwing this perfectly good bread away when I was sure that someone needed it. Well, as we approached the trash can, I joked about whether I should put it in the trash can or on the trash can. I opted to set it on the lid of the trash can so that someone who might need it could see it as they walked by.

Well, guess what?! As we were walking away from the trash can, an older gentleman was walking by us. As we walked away, I could see, out of the corner of my eye, that he was slowing down to look at what I had set on the lid of the trash can. I kept walking, but I tried to subtly look back to see what he was going to do. Sure enough, he kind of smiled at me (I wasn't so subtle after all) and took the bread. Maybe he smiled because he thought that only a crazy person would throw away such good bread...or maybe he smiled as a thank you. I'll never know.

I could have just dropped to the ground right then and there. I had carried this bread around for a day and a half, just waiting for an opportunity to use it. I had a bit of a weird attachment to this bread, but I think it's because I knew that God wanted to do something with it. Again, that can sound a little odd, but that's really how I felt. But once I finally let go of using it in the way that I thought I'd use it (eating it myself or giving it to a beggar that might approach me), He did use it. And man, if that doesn't get into some real deep stuff, then I don't know what does?! I keep laughing to myself as I write this because who knew that an experience with bread would cause me to reflect in such a serious way!

What do I have that God wants to use, but I just won't let Him because I want to do things my way? The answers would make this into a really, really long blog post, and I wouldn't do that to you. Is there something (physical or otherwise) that I'm holding on to instead of letting Him use? It might even be something that I'm holding on to with good intentions, much like this bread, but I'm holding on to it because I want to use it in a way that I think is best. I could go on and on with different questions and thoughts based on this whole concept (of letting go, of using what you have to serve others, etc), but I'll leave it at this.

Side note: It should be made clear that I am very stubborn, and everyone who knows me, knows this to be true. I like to do things my way. I like to be in control. I feel like I can say that I've gotten better about this since moving to Romania, but I definitely still have my moments. This relates to things both big and small, like what volume the tv should be at (answer: always an even number), how a conflict should be dealt with or how to lead a program. Basically, I like to do things my way.

I think I'm getting to a point, with my life in Romania, where the newness is wearing off. Yes, just now, after almost 3 years. And I'm starting to wonder what God really wants to do with me here. He's definitely already done so, so much. He's used me in ways that I could not have imagined, but I know He's got more planned for me. And I can feel it. There's something about 2018 in Romania that feels very different from my life here in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

So maybe I made something out of nothing with this bread experience. Or maybe this is something that God wants me to be thinking more about as I continue on into 2018. And/or maybe it's something that you needed to hear. So, whatever the reason, I hope you gained something from a seemingly silly blog post about bread.