by Danielle N. Hall
This poem is one of several I wrote and featured in the appendix my sophomore solo book: Dirty Little Secrets and The Little White Lie. “Calm” sums up most of my days: noisy, yet I steal away and find a moment of peace and quiet. Sometimes the noise is from external sources and sometimes it’s the sound of many thoughts dancing around in my mind. Either way, it can truly be overwhelming at times and what I need to really hear I may miss.
I’m reminded of an exchange I had with my eldest son, who I affectionately call my Big Boy. He’s the one who has willingly taken over the majority of the chef duties in the house. I have the privilege of getting at least one day a week in (insert sarcastic face here lol). Sunday is my designated dinner day. I admittedly cheat sometimes, though, and resort to food that has been prepared by other hands. Anyway, I do try to stick to my schedule. So in this exchange I had with Big Boy, who had ALSO become both the food police and food bandit in the house, he informed me of a few items we were in need of. One of said items was oil. I heard what he said, but remember that noise I mentioned before? The noise interfered with me storing that warning into the proper category. I won’t say that I ignored it, but I didn’t totally give it the attention it needed.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks afterwards. It was a Sunday, which means it was my dinner day. I was so excited about preparing the fresh produce I had picked up from the nearby Amish market on the Thursday before. I got a few things, but was most excited about the fresh broccoli and Brussels sprouts I had purchased from the market. Don’t gag…I used to have trouble with the thought of consuming Brussels sprouts for many years, too. The last time I sautéed the two vegetables together it was SO tasty and I think Big Boy shared the same sentiment because he had quite a healthy portion. I put my music on to get me going and I proceeded to prepare the veggies. I washed the veggies and cut the sprouts in halves and then cut the broccoli. Afterwards, I washed them again. I got ready to get my pan heated and realized: I HAD NO OIL! Surely, I had already received this warning some time before, but it wasn’t until I needed it that I realized that I didn’t have it.
Have you ever experienced this? You had your mind set to do something and moved forward with the plan and you realized that you didn’t have what you needed to effectively complete the task? Have you ever, with good intentions, attempted to engage in a godly endeavor, but realized you weren’t equipped?
Some are eager to step in places or to do things that they weren’t properly prepared for. Are you out of oil? Remember the parable of the 10 virgins?
Matthew 25:1-9 (AMP)
25 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins, who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish [thoughtless, silly, and careless], and five were wise [far-sighted, practical, and sensible]. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take any [extra] oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil along with their lamps. 5 Now while the bridegroom was delayed, they all began to nod off, and they fell asleep. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! The bridegroom [is coming]! Go out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins got up and put their own lamps in order [trimmed the wicks and added oil and lit them]. 8 But the foolish virgins said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise replied, ‘No, otherwise there will not be enough for us and for you, too; go instead to the dealers and buy oil for yourselves.’
One thing the foolish virgins and I had in common: we weren’t prepared for what we set out to do…we all were in need of oil. I was warned, but because I didn’t immediately heed the warning, I had to interrupt what I was doing to be properly equipped to finish what I started. I, too, had to go out and buy oil. Don’t let this be you. When you receive a warning or a heads up, make sure you shut out the noise so you can appropriately respond to the warning. Fortunately, I was able to get oil and finish preparing my veggie dish, but it could’ve been completed faster. It could’ve been a more efficient experience.
If you’re reading this, consider THIS as your warning to not forget the oil (or any other “ingredient” you need to be prepared for the mission you set out for. More importantly, make sure that you silence the noise so that you clearly hear the warning and then respond appropriately.