Forrest Gump said “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.”Forrest had a good analogy, but I see life a bit differently. “Life is like a casserole. I never know how it will taste, but I am responsible for choosing the ingredients.” I might have leftovers and this inspires me to put together a casserole using the leftovers. A can of this and a can of that and some spices, and I have a casserole. As vegetables ripen in my garden I want to use them. I think, how about a casserole? My favorite is the eggplant casserole my Mother used to make. I could be motivated to make a casserole because I spotted a great casserole recipe in my favorite cooking magazine. Whatever the reason I decide to make a casserole, I choose the ingredients and hope the first bite confirms that the casserole is yummy.
So isn’t a box of chocolates better than those dumb casseroles that mix everything together? My choice of chocolate is limited by the manufacturer. Choosing a chocolate is like reacting to what life presents and my choices are limited by what I see in the box of life. Forgive me for this cliche, but it may be better to think outside the box! My casserole is original and creative and subject to change.
My life experiences, and emotional and spiritual histories are the ingredients I have on hand for my casserole, but I can always run to the store if I need something. My past life experiences have to go in the pot, I can’t change the past but I can learn from it. Then I can add my attitudes and beliefs. My attitude of gratitude and positive expectations bring out the best flavor of my life experiences already in the pot. I shopped a lot of places before I finally learned that I can’t buy my attitudes and expectations, they are strictly homegrown. I have learned that whining and people pleasing are very bitter, so I don’t use them anymore. Doubt and fear taste like rotten eggs, so I nix them as well. I always like to add some creativity and enthusiasm, because it spices things up. I also add salty tears, but if the casserole is too salty I know I can throw it away and start over. I am not afraid to start over, because I know that it’s a great opportunity to experiment and make an even better casserole. My faith in a higher power keeps me going. Grief does not ruin a casserole, but no one goes looking for it. Grief makes a rich broth and becomes THE ingredient that makes a gourmet casserole.
Don’t forget to use your best casserole dish and don’t over cook it. Risk trying something new and don’t be afraid to experiment. Trust that your casserole will all come together and taste wonderful. Have some chocolate for desert! Forrest would approve.