What’s in Your Pantry?

By March 1, 2022 One Comment

Today, the sun is shining, birds are cavorting, and only a few stubborn piles of snow are sticking around. Yay! It’s officially 20 days until spring! I’m getting the urge to clean (and it doesn’t come often!) Carpe Diem!

But what a difference two years can make.

Rewind to March 2020. This is what I wrote:

I’ve always considered grocery shopping an adventure, but now it’s like going on safari. Who knows what will pop out—maybe something rare and amazing like toilet paper or bread! 

Recently, I was roaming the aisles with other fellow ‘hunters.’ Six feet apart and masked, we were all deathly quiet, not wanting to ‘scare the food away.’ I sensed movement to my left. There at the meat counter sat an unsuspecting package of ground beef (80% lean.) Six shopping carts were ready to pounce.

I steered clear, setting my hopes on aisle four instead, home of the often-illusive canned goods. My pulse began racing as I turned the corner. Would I actually find a can of…something?

I don’t have a deep love for canned food, but I’m married to someone who finds it ‘natural.’ And since love (and pandemics) make us do crazy things, I picked up one can of Spam. I left the other can on the shelf for someone else to enjoy.(winky! winky!)

I could easily envision handing my husband the grocery bag and watching his face light up. But if he didn’t want Spam at that exact moment, he could have it on his birthday or Father’s Day or Christmas, say, in 2039. According to some experts, Spam has an ‘indefinite shelf life’….

Fast forward to March 2022. Guess what I just found in my pantry? THAT can of Spam, and apparently, it’s still ‘good.’


I’d rather get rid of it.

As I reflect on the past two years, there are many things I’d like to get rid of—things I’ve stored in my ‘pandemic pantry,’ things much more important than the food I ingest.

I’d like to stop being ‘judgy.’ I’d like others to do the same. Instead of inflicting ‘judgment,’ I’d like to inflict grace. Life on this planet has been tough. Did any of us really know what we were doing? I did the best I could. I suspect you did too.

I’d like to toss out a sluggish spirit. During the past 24 months, we all lost something.  We all hurt over something. Wouldn’t compassion make a nice replacement for lethargy and apathy?

I’d like to trash any lingering despair and anger. Every generation has trials. We can let our hardships make us better or ‘badder.’ Personally, I’d rather be an infectious ‘super-spreader’ of hope and peace.

I’d like to banish doubt—doubt in myself, doubt in others, and mostly, doubt of my Creator and His goodness. Truth overrides doubt. I need to stuff  ‘my pantry’ with it again.

Impatience has got to go. Is it really a big deal to wait an extra 4 seconds at a traffic light? Where is all the patience I learned as a mother of 4 runny-nosed kids? I need a reset.

How about you? What’s in your ‘pantry?’ Are you storing things that aren’t good for you (or anybody else?)

It can be an overwhelming job to get rid of ‘our junk,’ so why not call The Professional? He specializes in ‘soul cleaning?’ This is all you have to say:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10(ESV)

He guarantees his work 24/7/365. No job is too big. Trust me, I’ve got Him on speed dial.

Here’s to clean pantries and clean hearts!

Until next time…



Joy Cleveland is an author, histotechnologist, wife, mother, and shameless grandmother. She has published short stories, children's plays, and her debut novel, "To Call My Own." Best known for heartwarming and hope-filled stories, she calls Iowa home.

One Comment

  • Kimberly Cleveland says:

    So true! We all need to have a soul cleaning! Sad to say though, my pantry is full of Spam. My hubby loves it! Thanks for a good one again! Kim

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