Lessons in Gratitude from Cleaning Out the Fridge

By Carol McClain: @  carol _mcclain


We were going to eat healthy so I bought fresh spinach for smoothies, cooked Brussels sprouts for our veggies, and one night I baked a veggie frittata.  Not wanting to waste leftovers, and being environmentally conscious, I placed leftovers in reusable containers and returned them to the fridge.

This morning my garbage and my compost bin received all the blue-molded refuse–the stinking spinach and Brussels sprouts and the blue molded frittata. I had to include those plastic containers since I wasn’t sure I could sanitize enough to reuse.

Don’t get haughty. I know you’ve been there.


I haven’t learned from past practice. And it speaks to my ingratitude for the abundance God’s given me.

I used to run marathons. After the New York City one, all the runners were tossing their stale bagels or partially eaten apples given at the end of the race into the trash bins. The homeless, trailing behind the athletes, fished the detritus from the bins. They didn’t care that food wasn’t as tasty as they preferred. It gave nourishment.

In a BBC documentary, I saw people in India going a step further than the NYC homeless. They ranged the local dump, picking up anything not too rotted to eat.

In America are more spoiled than the food from my fridge. And here’s what my refrigerator taught me.

  1. Realize the poorest person in the US is richer than most of the world. We do not go to the dump for dinner (even though we may call our local diner a dump). There’s always food, somewhere.
  2. We have shelter. Yes, many are homeless, but we do have homeless shelters, vehicles, churc
  3. hes that can house us.
  4. We have employment. A part of the illegal immigration problem arises from the fact that Americans won’t take the jobs the immigrants take. We may not like our jobs, but by in large, we can find something.
  5. We can freely worship. In many countries, that’s not possible.
  6. We can express our viewpoints. People can rant against this blog if they disagree. No one will be put in jail for it.
  7. We have food. I threw out my spinach because I didn’t have a yen for it and then it rotted. If I was truly hungry, it would’ve been fabulous. If we turn up our noses at food, we’re not really hungry.
  8. We have good educational and health care systems. It may not be what we want, exactly, it may not give us everything, but it’s here.
  9. We have the right to vote. We may not care for our choices, but we can do it.
  10. We have social safety nets. Social services protects our children, keeps us fed, helps with heat and housing, gives shelter to the homeless.
  11. We can live according to our ideals. Society may disagree with us. We do face biases. Despite the problems, American society moves in a direction allowing us to be conservative, religious, liberal, atheist or whatever. We, for the most part, don’t have to hide our basic human rights.

BONUS POINT OF GRATITUDE: Of course, you’d come to expect my advert. We can read whatever we want. The Poison We Drink is a powerful novel that shows us how forgiveness heals.

Remember, our God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory. (Phil. 4:19) (And according to His riches–God’s the richest being in creation.)


  1. Marie Engels says:

    I can relate to this blog as I just had my house insulated top to bottom. I have heat. I have veggies from my garden in the freezer. I don’t have to buy much from the store. Every morning I get up, I thank God for His blessings and tell Him how grateful I am. I don’t complain too much because Life is a gift….just depends on how you use it. Perspective makes all the difference. Thank you for your blog!

    • Carol McClain says:

      Thank you, Marie.

      And it’s so easy to focus on what we don’t have–like Rip’s passing. It hurts. It’s unfair. Unfortunately, it’s a part of life. When we focus on what we’re given, we remain blessed.

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