This wasn’t your mother’s oatmeal, your grandpa’s oatmeal, your cashier’s or your insurance adjuster’s oatmeal. This was life changing oatmeal.
Maybe you’ve grown up with oatmeal–it’s a familiar breakfast food, perhaps a little bit bland. The mushy consistency is unremarkable, and you consider it a symbol of the mundane, of mediocrity, of something that could always be improved upon.
I used to think the same way, and then Sunday morning happened. I went to prepare myself a bowl and found a paltry amount of oats left—less than a quarter cup.
Disaster. Outrage. Despair.
But despite the feelings of heartbreak and irretrievable loss, I persevered and decided to prepare them the usual way, with white sugar and vanilla and cinnamon and walnuts, cookie-fying it as much as possible.
After I poured hot water over the concoction and stirred, I tasted disappointment yet again. I had added too much water and my oats seemed a pathetic, thin gruel. I took it back to my lair in order to eat it unceremoniously in the company of my computer, my preferred breakfast partner.
As I sat munching and reading The Rumpus, something miraculous happened: I slowly realized that I was eating the best bowl of oatmeal of my entire life. Each mouthful was bursting with intense, oaty flavor enhanced by the contrasting texture of the walnut’s gentle crunch and the soft oat mush. It was exhilarating. Life doesn’t stay the same after eating the best bowl of oatmeal you’ve ever made.
With that shimmering moment of revelation, every bite was a joy because I knew, “This is the best oatmeal I’ve ever tasted. This is the highlight of my life, the crowning of my career. I’m eating my accomplishments. The day is blessed and I can do no wrong.” What could have been nothing more than an oat bummer became the turning point of my entire life.
I went out that day and delivered 16 babies, saved countless lives, and drew a convincing picture of a sparrow. While sleeping later that night I dreamed I was walking in the Garden of Eden with the Good Lord Himself and we were going on all of the rides together. “Emily,” the Lord said as the roller coaster inched inevitably upwards, “Did you enjoy your oatmeal today?”
“That was YOU?”
He chuckled, “It sure was. Remember this always. Go and do likewise for others.” And the moment snapped and we faced the earth itself and zoomed downwards, screaming and laughing together.
When I woke up, I made myself another bowl of oatmeal. It wasn’t as good as the last one, because the last one was the best bowl of oatmeal in my entire life, but it was still pretty good.
Have you thought about oats for breakfast tomorrow?