I spent several hours yesterday visiting with my dad and it was delightful. The older we both get, the more relaxed we are and the more we enjoy our visits. The ambiance around us hasn’t always been perfect but we’re moving beyond that. There are miles of dried up gorges filled with past wounds still laying on the surface of our relationship but that’s just it; they’re scars and they serve no real purpose now other than to remind us of how far along we’ve come since those wounds were inflicted. I don’t really know when the wounds became scars except that one day I decided that I no longer wanted to carry around the baggage of bitterness. I, myself, wanted to live free of my past offenses so in order to do that I had to let some offenders off my hook. I decided to forgive and move on, to love like Jesus.
My dad was a different person back when he and my mother were raising me. Having just stepped over the edge of a milestone birthday myself, I now see my childhood through the lenses of wisdom and therein lies the pathway to the forgiveness that I am able to extend to others. While I am forgiving others, I am seeking forgiveness, too. As I open my hand to give it to others, I am seeking it and allowing others to give it to me.
I take account of my own parenting skills during the last twenty years and I sure hope my daughter will extend some grace and mercy to me, too, because much of my parenting was done when I was young and it was performed by the seat of my pants. Suffice to say, I made some errors. Ok, I made a lot of errors but I always parented out of love and I believe that love covers a multitude of sins and a bucket load of mistakes. It’s really the defining action of grace…to forgive others and to love others and remember to forgive yourself and love yourself back.
Life is but a second and it is way too short to live in captivity to the chains of bitterness, anger, alienation, and conflict. Love recklessly. Live purposefully. Make that second count!
I usually do not peruse the inside aisles of my grocery store because it’s in those passageways where I get into calorie trouble but I let myself indulge the snack row one day and I was glad I did. I delightfully browsed the shelves, picking up packages and reading labels, and remarked at the voluminous plethora of goods marketed to entice and tease my taste buds. “Sweet and Salty” were the three words that kept vying for my affection. My mouth watered as I touched package after package of those delectable treats that were advertised to simulate a pleasant portion of sweet and salty and were guaranteed to satisfy my hunger. Even though I was not hungry, putting myself in that snack arena made me desire the sweet and salty sensation, the fulfillment of the pair, and the joy of obtaining the object of my immediate desire.
I left the store without purchasing a sweet and salty treat but for days I could not get the words out of my head. It wasn’t the treats that I was meditating on; it was the words…sweet and salty. I know salt is a healer. I use a Himalayan salt therapy for my lumbar disc issues. I use salt to season my foods and little goes a long way. I use salt to preserve foods but studying the other uses of salt I was reminded that it is used to soften our water and to clear ice and snow from roads. I also learned that salt is great when used as a household cleaner and can tackle tough laundry tasks (seriously…Google it!). Salt deters ants, keeps flowers fresh, kills weeds, relieves pain from mouth sores, and the list continues.
Ok. I know you and you’re saying “Lady, enough about the salt already…I get it…so where does the sweet come into this story???”.
So the thoughts about salt made perfect sense to me because the Bible tells us we are to be salt in the world. In other words, we are to be healers. We are to be warriors to help people clean up the messes that life brings. We are here to bring seasoning and richness to the lives of others. We are created and called to be salt and light in a dark world and when we do this, we are left with the smoothest, the most peaceful and plentiful supply of sweetness that life offers.
In the aisles of your daily life, I pray that you are salt. I pray that you find opportunities to pour into lives around you so that you usher in the joy of sweetness. Sweet and salty, good people, sweet and salty.