Sunday, October 17, 2010


Years ago, back when I was living with my parents, I came home after a long day. I was just in time for dinner. I was starving. I hadn't eaten all day, and the food looked and smelled so good. I couldn't wait to start. We sat down at the table, and I began to pile my plate. I noticed my family looking at me skeptically. We had a rule in the house: You eat what you take. I gazed back in defiance and responded, "I'm hungry." Then I raised my eyebrows, inviting them to question me. My stepmother pursed her lips, then sighed. "Do what you want."

So I did. I took as much food as I could fit on my plate, then a little more, just to prove my point. We began to eat. I shoved the food in my mouth, hungrily, too fast to taste. Within minutes my stomach was thanking me. And my plate was half empty. I slowed down.

And then I began to feel full. It started as a sense of satisfaction in my stomach, but, as I continued eating, turned into a weight, and then a discomfort. I eyed my plate, still half full, and realized there was no room for the rest of this food. But I had taken it. And I knew the rule, so I needed to eat it.

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and continued eating. The food had lost its flavor. I looked at our serving plates, unnecessarily emptied of food that could have been eaten by another person on another day, but wouldn't because of me. I had been wasteful in my need. But nothing could be done about it now, because the moral of this story is: You finish what you start.

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