Sunday, January 18, 2015

Like a really empty bottle of ketchup

Several years ago I had a conversation with the CEO of an association representing the food processing industry and the subject of waste came up.  He shared how despite our best efforts to use all of some food products, some gets unused and thrown away.  He gave an example of a bottle of ketchup to make his point. 

I could relate to what he was sharing and actually agreed with him while recalling many instances in my ketchup-using past where the bottle was almost empty but not quite.  There was still some ketchup lining the bottom and sides of the bottle and despite my best efforts to get that last drop of ketchup – turning the bottle upside down, squeezing it for dear life, pounding it on the kitchen table and so forth – I eventually abandoned my efforts in frustration, considered the bottle empty and then tossed it in the kitchen trash container.

I made a “business decision” that I had used enough and for all practical purposes the bottle was empty and I had used it all to the very last drop.  But in reality, there was more ketchup in the bottle and by tossing the bottle in the trash container; I lost my opportunity to “use it all”.

In a middle-aged man reflective moment, I started to think about that bottle of ketchup in relation to my daily efforts to be the best I can to all those who are part of my life – my family, friends and clients.

Certainly I begin each day with the best of intentions to pour my heart, mind and soul into everything I do.  Freshly awakened after a good night’s sleep, I’m like a newly-opened bottle of ketchup; my efforts to do well and be good flow so easily.  But as the day goes on, like that almost-empty bottle of ketchup, my reservoir of abilities, energy and good intentions start to empty and it takes a little more squeezing, pounding and shaking to get another drop of good out of me.

And just like that almost-empty bottle of ketchup, at some point, even though I have more left, I make a “business decision” that enough is enough and that I’ve given all that I can for the day.  At that moment, I’m like both the person trying to get the last drop of ketchup out of an almost-empty bottle and the almost-empty ketchup bottle – frustrated and depleted.    

At the end of a challenging day when I finally get an opportunity to call it quits until tomorrow, and lay my head on the comfortable pillow in my bed, ready for hours of restful sleep and rejuvenation, I hope my final thought before checking out when Mr. Sandman arrives, is that I used all my God-given talents this day with no wasted effort just like a really empty bottle of ketchup.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

No comments: