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Season with care

October 22, 2013

There’s a Penzey’s Spices catalog and a shopping list at my elbow.  I’m out of curry powder, granulated garlic, Dutch cocoa, chili powder, and a lot more.  It’s time to place an order.

It’s funny, really…when I cook those spices, I usually only use a little bit in each recipe.  It only takes a very small amount to flavor an entire dish.  Don’t believe me?  The next time you make vanilla pudding, try adding 1/4 tsp. of granulated garlic.  Trust me.  That’s a tiny amount, but you’ll know it’s in there.

A few days ago I found myself the recipient of a lot of words of encouragement.  It seemed like they were coming from all different directions.  And I did feel encouraged.  Until…

I don’t think she meant it.  I don’t think she meant for her backhanded words to be so dismissive, or realized I was feeling them cut like a knife.  They were the opposite of the encouragement I’d received all day long.  And before the day was out, even more people would go out of their way to speak kindness and blessing and encouragement over me.  So it should easily balance, right?

Isn’t it funny how no amount of bread can make a rat sandwich palatable?

I did what I knew to do.  I took my complaint to God and I asked Him if what she said was worth considering.  I agreed with Him that forgiveness was the way to go with this matter, and I did that.  But I’d be lying if I said that those words didn’t still sting a bit.  And I’d also be lying if I didn’t admit that one DIScouraging word seemed to have has much force and power as a dozen ENcouraging words.  What is up with that?

Words are powerful.  They are weapons, they are medicine, they can destroy, they can heal.  Words are rarely neutral, even when we intend them to be.  We are rarely cognizant that when we speak to someone, we are speaking into a story already in progress.

I’m one of God’s needier kids.  I may try hard to play it cool around other people, but I don’t even bother with Him.  He’s the only one who can handle a full-throttle Sparky fussing that someone poured some granulated garlic into her vanilla pudding.  He’s the only one who can carry my sad, temper my mad, supersize my happy, bait my curious.  I am never too much for Him, no matter what combination of spices I dump in His pudding.

In the end, one somewhat careless comment really can’t outweigh a pile of encouraging comments that God breathes on.  The former held no true direction for changing my course in any way.  The latter carry life and light.  And I love light and life.

A lot less garlic aftertaste, too.

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