Life Lessons From Frozen Chicken

I have a problem with patience. Actually the problem is I don’t have much of it. I have a saying my kids know by heart: Patience is a virtue. It isn’t one of mine.

There’s a lot going on in my life lately. Too much of go go go and do do do are cutting into my quiet time to just be. I missed out on Mass last week thanks to the blizzard and I’d missed the Tuesday and Thursday Masses before the storm too. I was too tired and too stressed to go. I had too much to do. In the end though, instead of feeling like I’d accomplished more during that time, I felt more rushed and more exhausted. Guess what, more rushed plus more exhausted equals less patient. Not good. That four days spent snowed in was good for me but when it was over, I dove in and tried to make up time. It’s a silly thing really. Time comes and it goes. I don’t know how much I have. None of us do. I have no control over so many things that impact my time and yet what do I stress the most over? Time! It felt so good to go to Mass Sunday night but the ‘just be’ didn’t last long.

Monday was another one of those crazy days. I woke up with a blinding headache. I went to work. I got out early and rushed home for five minutes. It was just long enough to pick up the boys and rush to a scout event that involved lunch at McDonald’s then driving twenty minutes each way to tour a television station. The boys didn’t eat at McDonald’s. I couldn’t believe it. All the times they beg me to take them and this one time, they won’t eat. So on the way home from our television station tour, the first question was, “So what’s for lunch?” It was 3:00! We’d gone out for lunch. They didn’t eat and now they wanted lunch while I was figuring out what to cook for dinner. When we got home Eugene wanted a fried egg and ketchup sandwich. The toast had to be perfect golden brown. Then it had to be layered bread, ketchup, egg, ketchup, and bread. Andrew wanted a frozen French bread pizza. So despite the headache, I did my best short order cook impersonation.

Meanwhile, I still had to start dinner when all I really wanted to do was sit down and close my eyes for ten minutes. Eugene requested chicken soup. That was simple enough to suit me. I had some frozen chicken breast in the freezer. Now a patient person would put the frozen chicken breast, package and all into water to thaw a little. Not me. I decided to pry the chicken out of the foam package. It was frozen solid and stuck fast. I, who can’t open soda bottles, decided I would use brute force to free this solid ice bird from it’s foam tray prison. I’m not exactly sure how it happened but the next thing I knew, my thumb was stuck. It got wedged between the chicken and the foam. I couldn’t get it loose and now working one-handed I couldn’t get a good enough grip to pull the chicken off the trapped thumb. On top of that, it really hurt! I was getting frostbite on the fingertips of my right hand while trying to free the left thumb. I struggled for a few minutes and finally had to call for Andrew. “Andrew! Come in here! Hurry! My thumb is stuck under the chicken!” To his great credit, he managed to break the foam so I could pull the thumb out before he burst out laughing. We laughed until our bellies hurt and tears streamed down our cheeks.

Two minutes under hot water in the sink was all it took to get the rest of the tray unstuck from the chicken. As I chopped the carrots for the soup, I had some time to think about how ridiculous it was of me to try to force something that was obviously not meant to be forced. And for what? To save two minutes? Instead I ended up with very bruised thumb and a slightly bruised ego. How many other things in my life do I try to force? How much unnecessary pain do I cause myself? Is it really a lack of patience or is it really a need to control the uncontrollable?

It’s funny the things life can teach you. Who would believe I’d learn life lessons about patience and control from a frozen chicken? God has a twisted sense of humor. I like that about Him.

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