Bran Flakes & Sweet Treasures

Cereal comes up more than one might think in my blog considering how very seldom I eat it. I like cereal, but not for breakfast, when I’m craving protein, not starch.  And with a family, it is rare to get away with just having a bowl of cereal for dinner.

But this morning I was thinking about my next writing project and the sacrifices I will have to make for it.  In a Creative Nonfiction class I am being asked to go to a restaurant alone, eat a meal, and write a 500-word foodie article about what I experience, memories that are served up, and the story behind the meal.  I’ve gotten it into my head to go eat a Big Mac one afternoon this week, so it is Raisin Bran for breakfast and salads for lunch the rest of the week.

I like Raisin Bran.  I really do.  I’m not just repeating that in order to convince myself.  I like Raisin Bran.  Mostly.  O.k., if I’m completely honest I find bran cereals a little dry.  Not to take anything away from you if you love them, but the truth is I would never eat one again if I didn’t recognize how healthy and therefore necessary they are.

But Raisin Bran is the best of the lot. I affirmed that again as I mulled my way through a bowl reading e-mail this morning.  I tried to find it in my soul to praise God as I meditated on my e-blast of the daily psalter, spoon and laptop balanced precariously:

“O sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.”

Munch on a mouthful of bran.  Yes, God is good, worthy of song.  Yada Yada…

 “Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.”

What was that article I was just reading?  Didn’t “What’s for Dinner, Moms?” publish something about Frito Corn Salad?  Would that count as a salad for lunch today?

“Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples.”

Bite into a raisin. Sweet juicy goodness, those are amazing! God and Post Consumer Brands are geniuses for putting those two things together. What could be better than a breakfast of Post Raisin Bran?
“For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised!”

Psalm 96 and breakfast came to life for me today as I found the tasty among the bland. That happens more than we might think in the spiritual life. When we talk about our experiences of the Divine Presence, we emphasize the sweet, juicy highs. But there is plenty of bran cereal in our daily practice.

The thing is, I could just have a handful of raisins for breakfast in the morning. But that’s not satisfying either. There is something about the juxtaposition of the bran flakes and the raisin that makes Raisin Bran ultimately sustaining and even delicious.  Which doesn’t even explore how the cold, creamy milk draws them all together.

Food can transcend its purpose as fuel for the journey and offer a distinctive window into the soul. One of the simplest spiritual disciplines in the world is to just eat, no TV, no computer, no book.  Just notice the food that you have been given.

Maybe I won’t even need a Big Mac this week.

Are you a cereal eater?  Is it only for breakfast or do you find other times of day to enjoy this breakfast food?  How does food play a role in your spiritual journey and spiritual practice? In this example, if the bran is rather mundane and the raisins are moments of sweetness, how might you see the milk fitting into the metaphor? Do you recognize both the mundane and the sweetness in your own spiritual journey?

If you are looking to find the sweetness in what seems like the mundane in your life, consider spiritual direction or a retreat with Openings: Let the Spirit In.

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