My husband won’t eat leftovers. So when we have too much food to finish in one meal, I’m really just storing the extra until I throw it away later. Storing leftovers is economical if one is creative enough or foresighted enough to repurpose everything, but my varied and delightful collection of containers isn’t saving me any money by simply storing the food I’m throwing away. Isn’t that why I have a trash can?
The idea of leftovers has me intrigued today. Maybe my husband doesn’t like to eat them because he thinks leftovers are subpar. Maybe he thinks they send the message that I don’t care enough to create something new to wow his palate each day. When we think of leftovers we think, “I’ve already had this experience. There’s nothing new here.” And, in fact, it’s true. We only serve leftovers to family or very close friends, right? No one invites an important client to dinner and serves a Tupperware container of last night’s lasagna.
Is the same true with my time and energy?
Do I give only what’s left over to those closest to me? Do I save the best of my wit and creativity for strangers and merely phone it in when I’m with the ones who matter most in my life? I admit, often when I come home at the end of the day, I’m longing for the couch and the remote, but a nightly pattern of sedentary, mindless escape does nothing to build intimacy in my family relationships. If my priorities really are with my family and my faith, doesn’t it make sense that I would pace myself appropriately during the week to invest fresh ingredients into those parts of my life?
I don’t think relationships should have leftover containers.