One of my favorite hobbies is people watching. I know it may seem awkward to some but I just get so enchanted seeing how other people operate. How they talk, how they walk, and just how they live their lives…even if it’s just for a few minutes.Well about a year ago, I was interning for a law firm downtown. Every week my boss would take me and the other associates to lunch for staff meetings. One week in particular, our boss wanted to treat us for our hard work, so he took us somewhere super expensive. After the meeting was done and we finished our meal we sat for a minute while waiting for the check. I guess I was feeling antisocial that day, because while the other interns were making small talk amongst each other, I didn’t feel like engaging. Instead, I was sitting at the end of the table doing my usual episode of people watching.
After a few minutes of surveying the room, staring at all the different suit and tie professionals picking through the menu while sharing the latest office gossip, I fell upon this young woman. She couldn’t have been older than 25 and she was sitting by herself. She had a large plate of food in front her and with this place being as expensive as it was, I knew her bill was going to amount to a pretty penny. When the food was placed in front of her, she grabbed her knife and fork and dug in. But after two or three bites, she started making a really weird face. Even a blind person could see she wasn’t a fan of her food. I kept watching her to see what she would do. I figured she was going to do one of three things: ask the nearest waiter to switch her meal, ask for a new plate of what she already had, or add some condiments that were near by to try and give the food a different flavor. But oddly she didn’t do any of that. Instead, she grabbed her plate, threw everything in the nearby trash, left $250 on the table and walked out. I remember staring at her from the time she dropped the money on the table until she was out of sight from the glass windows. And the whole time I am looking at her, I am sitting in disbelief asking myself “How could she waste a meal that expensive like its nothing? How could she just throw it away that easily?”
But a few seconds later, I answered my question with “Of course she would. Why wouldn’t she?” I mean think about it…today, we look at everything as disposable…because we’ve been brainwashed to think that everything has to be easy. Everything has to taste just right, look just right, and be everything we envisioned if not more with little to no effort from us. And if it’s not, we’re taught to toss it. So that’s what we do. So when our goals get too difficult, we toss them. When our dreams seem out of reach, we forget about them. When our relationships get too hard, we date someone else. When our friendships go astray, we just leave them in the dust. Simply because its easier. We’re conditioned to avoid working too hard for something no matter how rewarding the end result may be. Sometimes out of laziness, sometimes out of pride, and sometimes out of fear. So we convince ourselves that there’s other options and run at the first chance we get, trashing anything that deviates us from this easy path we THINK we want. But often times, instead of finding something better, we end up with a trash bin full of treasures that we soon realize we can never get back.
But when I feel tempted to throw in the towel, I remember the old saying my dad tells me at least once a week, which is that “Nothing good in life comes in easy”. Anything you want in life, you have to push for. Whether it be that bland meal that needs a little salt and pepper added to it, that class that you just can’t master, or that relationship that you’re unsure about….you have to put in effort. And when you put in that effort you begin to appreciate what God has given you. You’ll start to see it transforming you and before you know it, what you’re putting it in will be nothing in comparison to what you’re getting out. Don’t be threatened or discouraged by what’s inconvenient for you. Don’t take the easy way out. Fight for what’s in front of you. Appreciate what’s in front of you. Instead of quitting, learn to overcome. Don’t discard your challenges, but embrace them. Not only embrace them, but grow from them. Grow to endure and persevere through the experiences and the people that you know in the end will make you better. Do yourself a favor, and make your “trash”, your most invaluable treasure.