Written by Steven Liechty
"Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it." - Proverbs 13:11
A chocolate left on a turned-down bed signifies a lovely hotel. It's such a treat.
But at a recent meeting, the hotel receptionist offered us a choice of chocolate when we checked in. "Do you prefer milk chocolate or dark?" she asked, "With or without almonds?"
After guests answered, they were presented with an entire chocolate bar to take up to their room! But perhaps such extravagance can be explained by the context. We were in Hershey, Pennsylvania, after all.
Still, that gesture reflects a change in our culture over the last decades. If you order a regular soda, you get something massive. If you order a small, you get what used to be large. The fast food drive through is not the only place where things get supersized. It seems to happen everywhere.
It used to be a small chocolate left on a bed was a surprise, a moment of grace. But at that hotel, we got to choose our flavor and then got the whole chocolate bar. What effect does that have on us? I'm not sure it makes us "sweeter."
I wonder if, when I next stay at a hotel that leaves a chocolate on the bed, if I will be disappointed. Will I start grousing: "What? Just a little piece of candy? Not the whole bar? And what if I wanted another flavor?"
Sometimes being given too much spoils us for smaller things. With so many choices and such large portions, are we losing the ability to taste and appreciate the smaller gifts, like a tiny piece of chocolate left on a bed?
Dear God, adjust my eyesight to see the small, tiny, precious gifts of grace in my supersized world.
Lillian Daniel, author of When "Spiritual But Not Religious" is Not Enough, has a chapter in the new anthology, What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most. Follow her on twitter @lillianfdaniel.