When I was a child, one of my chores was to clean the dried pinto beans before they were soaked overnight. My grandmother taught me to remove the shriveled beans, the broken beans, and the chunks of dirt that were trapped in the packages before the beans reached the supermarket.
I didn't understand why the beans HAD to be cleaned. Couldn't we just put them in hot water? I got clean when I soaked in hot water. Couldn't we do the same for the beans? I sighed heavily. Although not quite a "tween," I was already on my way to earning the title of drama queen.
We ate beans 2-3 times per week which meant cleaning those beans 2 or more times each week. Of course, I sighed dramatically as I worked and rolled my eyes. My grandmother never looked up, but I knew she heard me.
When the last sigh was uttered, and I had put the beans in the bean pot and added the water, my grandmother stopped cooking. She looked at me. "Child, come here." I moved to sit next to her. "Why do you insist on complaining about you job? It only takes a little time. You have plenty of time to play with your friends and do your homework."
The budding drama queen answered, "I just don't know why we can't just put them in water. They'd be clean after a good soak." Of course, I sighed.
Grandma just looked at me. "The problem is that there is dirt in the package. When the beans soak all night, the dirt would soak into the beans. We'd be eating dirty food."
I hadn't thought of that. "None of my friends have to clean beans."
"Maybe not, but you do," Grandma replied.
I sighed very loudly at that remark, and I rolled my eyes.
"Not only that, you can offer it up."
She was getting serious now. "Just tell Jesus that you don't like to clean beans."
I interrupted, "I already did that."
She was so patient with me. "Please, let me finish."
"After you tell Him, just say, 'but I'm going to offer it up to You because I love You." Then say a Hail Mary, and finish your work. No more complaining. Offer everything up. The beans will taste better if you do."
"Your beans are the best in this world!"
"Thank you, Sweet One. That's why we pray and offer everything up to Jesus. He makes everything better."
I sighed, and Grandma went back to work cooking supper. I saw her stop for a moment and look up to heaven. Grandma was offering something up to Jesus! She looked at me and smiled. Dinner would be ready soon, and I was hungry!
The beans tasted so good for supper! I told Grandma that, too. She said, "I told you when you offered things up to Jesus, everything was better."
"Grandma, what did you offer up?"
She replied, "You, my sweetness, you."
Of course, I sighed and rolled my eyes. I think I saw Grandma offering something up. They'd never understand! I sighed. I think I heard Grandma sigh, too, but I'm not sure.