What goes in…What comes out

Mum had a hand mincer. That is to say it was operated by hand – not that it minced hands, although when Mum allowed me to operate it…

Cold leftovers from Sunday roast went in there, usually to become a minced meat pie. It taught me an important lesson – that I now relate to sausages and beefburgers: what goes in is what comes out.

Local petrol stations have run out of fuel. There have been queues… panic buying… Workers, needing to get to essential work, have been frustrated and angry. ‘Selfish people thinking only of themselves!’ is the cry.

Musing… I got some petrol yesterday so I’m OK… My priority is often selfish – my needs, my requirements. It gets worse. I find in myself a self-righteousness that says that others are selfish, thoughtless, inconsiderate… and I’m not.

This self-centred, self-protecting, self-promoting, self-developing, self-first attitude seems to be expected and promoted by our government, our society… and sometimes by me.

What goes in is what comes out. Feed in selfishness – out comes selfishness. I’m not surprised to see queues at petrol stations.

But there’s an alternative…

Firstly… Using Mum’s mincer principle ‘what goes in is what comes out’…

The shy, introverted child who discovers she has a gift for acting, the drug-addict who breaks his habit and cares for other addicts, the couch-potato who exercises and comes to enjoy the park-run.

We can decide. Put better things in then better things come out. Selfishness is not inevitable.

Secondly… The Prayer of St Francis that starts: ‘Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace…’ ends with ‘…For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.’

For him what goes in isn’t what comes out! The counter-intuitive, apparently contradictory way of St Francis and his God provides us with a way that can transform our attitudes and lives.

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