Canned Goods and Closed Hearts

Canned Goods and Closed Hearts

My parents were born during the decade of “The Great Depression.” It was a time when many families in America struggled to put food on their tables. Luxuries pretty much became an abstract concept for most Americans during those days. Finding enough food for another week was the goal for most families then.

I grew up hearing the stories about meals consisting of salted pork fat back and biscuits, with syrup or gravy made from a limited amount of flour. I must say that I’m thankful I didn’t have to eat meals like that when I was a child. We never lacked for food.

I did, however, notice something that many people my age may remember about their parent’s kitchen cabinets. The cupboard was always filled with canned foods. Green beans, creamed corn, navy beans, canned yams, peas of various assortments, applesauce, even hominy (a food that ranks right down there with fat back) lined our shelves. Open the kitchen cabinet doors in the home of my childhood and you would think we were about to have an army come over for dinner. Sometime, before Melanie and I go to the grocery store now, the cabinets look pretty empty. Not so in my parent’s kitchen. There was always food.

There was an irony about the whole situation. Much of the food in those cabinets seemed to stay there a long time. I don’t think I ever saw the cupboard empty. As an adult looking back on the situation, I think I get it.

My parent’s generation had known what is was like to be without food. Consequently, somewhere deep inside them a voice must have said, “I will never be caught without enough food to eat again.” Thus, the massive inventory of canned goods. Come what may in life, there would be food in the cabinets.

I think that’s how many of us face most areas of our lives. We have faced circumstances at times that created a sense of loss or need within us. Because the situation was painful, somewhere deep inside us, we said, “This won’t ever happen to me again.” So we hoarded what we have and shut the cabinet door. We went into the self-protection mode.

Some were hurt by a friend and have now closed the door on vulnerability. They’ll never trust another person as a true friend. Others have had a marriage go sour. Today, they won’t completely open up to their mate because of fear. If they give everything, they risk losing everything again. Some were burned at church. Now, they have lumped all churches in the same hypocritical pile and won’t become an integral part of a church fellowship.

The hurts differ, but the response is common. Shut the door of my heart and don’t risk losing what I have or being hurt. After all, if it happened once, . . .

What “great depression” have you experienced in life? What commodity did you feel you had taken from you when you needed it most? Was it trust? Love? Friendship? What have you lost?

As a result have you tried to stuff those things deep inside you that you don’t want to ever lose again? Are you fearful to take them out? Have you resolved that you’ll never find yourself in that kind of situation again?

There’s a problem with keeping canned goods in a cupboard too long. The food will spoil. Sometimes the cans will even explode. What seemed like a good idea initially, ultimately is proven to be the wrong choice.

Don’t make that mistake in your life. Open the doors of your heart and utilize what is there. Trust people again. Open yourself up to be vulnerable. Share from your heart with those you love. The Great Depression is over. Don’t judge your future by the past. You have much to share. Don’t hide it behind closed doors. There’s a hungry world around you and you have what they need.

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