Too Much Okra
Fri, 2015-10-16 05:00 News Staff
by Renae Brumbaugh
I’ve decided I might have too many jobs. Too many titles. Too many responsibilities. Seriously. In the last couple of years, I’ve really enjoyed this city-girl-turned-rugged-pioneer-woman thing, but the new is wearing off. Now, instead of fun, it feels like work. And I already have several jobs. My current resume includes the following listings: Chicken farmer. Duck herder. Okra/black-eyed pea/tomato picker. School bus driver (okay, so I only have one student, but still.) Short-order cook, nurse, laundress, tutor, housekeeper, and every other job that falls under the “Mom” description. And none of those jobs pays the bills. Add to that, I’m a writer, which doesn’t pay many bills, but at least it’s something. And recently, Superman and I have added “Publisher” to our list of jobs. Which means I’m usually so busy editing other people’s words, I don’t have time to work on my own stuff. But that’s okay. To make a short story long . . . something’s gotta give. And since I’m kind of in the mom thing for the long haul, and since the writer/publisher thing helps put spaghetti on the table, and since the ducks and chickens are kinda cute despite the enormous amount of poop they create . . . I’m thinking the okra’s gotta go. The problem is, that okra won’t stop. We planted it in early spring, and since then I’ve made every okra recipe imaginable. Fried. Grilled. Baked. Pickled. Gumbo. Stew. I’ve even learned to like it raw, with a little ranch dressing. Every day, I fill the basket to overflowing with okra. Then I’ve gotta haul it in, chop it up, put it in freezer bags, and make space for it in the deepfreeze. The next day, there’s another full basket, waiting to be picked. And it gets taller and taller, so I have to stand on my tippy-toes to reach the new growth. And it’s itchy! But I really like okra. I know a lot of people think it’s yucky and slimy, but it tastes good to me. So I should be thrilled that it grows so abundantly in my garden. Shouldn’t I? I mean, how ungrateful I am! Am I really complaining about too much of a good thing? For shame. So every day, day after day, I spend close to an hour on the okra when I really don’t have time to devote to a vegetable that, in all truth, has limited uses. But today I realized something. It’s not a matter of being ungrateful. It’s a matter of being too busy. I have a problem saying no to things . . . especially when those things are good and worthwhile and delicious. But I really don’t have to do it all, do I? It’s okay to say no to a good thing now and then, so I can devote more of myself to other, more important, more pressing good things. Isn’t it? Please say yes. Because seriously. Something’s gotta give. I think that’s a common problem with a lot of folks these days. There are so many worthwhile causes and pastimes at our fingertips, and we want to do it all. But by doing it all, we don’t really enjoy any of it. A wise woman once told me, “You can’t have everything you want. But you can have anything you want. You just have to decide what you want most, and focus on that.” Yep. I want it all. I want my chickens and my ducks and my garden and all the delights of motherhood and family and all the joys of being a writer and a publisher. When it comes down to it, I can’t choose just one thing. I want to be a great mom. An excellent wife. A devoted daughter. I want to write things that make people smile and point them to God. And I want to help other people write things that help others and make the world a better place. That’s still a lot of things on my list. But I’ve shortened it quite a bit. I’ve eliminated some good things, so I can focus on the best things. Perhaps I can learn to delegate some responsibility, too. I think Superman’s gonna take over the ducks for a while. And the chickens can free-range it. As for the okra, I have no idea. If you know of anyone who likes gumbo, send them my way. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her,” Luke 10:40-42.