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It’s time to eat.

You’ve been anticipating this meal all day.

You’re with some of your favorite people at your go-to special occasion spot.

When the server nods at you, you name the dish you’ve been craving.  If you could see the look of anticipation and excitement on your face as you order, you might be a touch embarrassed.  (Should a grown person really be this excited about food??)

Even now, your mouth waters as you catch a whiff of the chef’s handiwork and watch other patrons savoring it by the mouthful.

The music sets the perfect mood. Just loud enough to be enjoyed, but soft enough not to stifle conversation.  The lighting and decor enhance the moment.  Everything seems to be….well…perfect.

Your meal finally arrives.  You resist the primal urge to stuff your face impolitely and somehow muster the patience to let everyone receive their plates too.

Someone suggests a prayer of thanksgiving.  You reluctantly agree- a touch annoyed to be further delayed- but also sincerely grateful.

Amen is said and with all barriers removed, you hoist your fork and target your first bite.

Then you spot it.

A hair.

One that is definitely not yours.

In your food.

Are you still hungry?

Excited to dig in?

Has your appetite been ruined?  Or at least diminished?

Some of us might be able to set aside the follicular invader and eat with abandon.  But most wouldn’t.

Even if we sent our plate back to the kitchen and got an unsullied portion with the manager’s apologies and an appropriate bill reduction- we’d still struggle to recover the bliss we felt before we found the hair.

Isn’t that interesting?  How can one small, unfortunate- and even unintentional- detail negate all the other fantastic parts of the evening?

And yet it can.  And does.

And not just at the dinner table either.

Most of us live pretty good lives.  Things aren’t perfect, but our blessings greatly outnumber our struggles.

Yet our problems carry so much weight that they easily waylay us- capturing inordinate amounts of our attention, time and energy.

We have 50 positive interactions in a day- and fixate on the one person who was rude to us.

We get 20 thank you notes- but obsess over the one critical email.

We cross 99 items off our to-do list- and lose sleep over the 1 that remains.

We make a dozen great decisions- and beat ourselves up over a single gaff.

Isn’t that silly?

And yet true?

What is the “hair in your food” right now? 

What problem or distraction has stolen your sense of joy and gratitude? 

Is there a way set it aside with God’s help and enjoy the moment anyway?