January 30, 2012

a spoonful of sugar

"nobody likes having salt rubbed into their wounds, even if it is the salt of the earth." rebecca west

it was my first ever cheesecake, reese's peanut butter, and it had to be perfect because it was intended for a former boyfriend and his family. i had decided to unleash my inner betty crocker and to make it completely from scratch. i melted down the reese's peanut butter chips. i softened the cream cheese. i lightly beat those eggs. and then i dumped the sugar in...only to suddenly be overcome with a baker's worst fear: did i just use salt when i should have used sugar?

i immediately took my spoon and got a little of whatever i just dumped in and put it in my mouth...only to be relieved by the fact that it had been sugar. but the situation couldn't help but cause me to think about how many times i use salt when i should be using sugar in everyday life.

i'll admit it. i'm a huge people watcher. i could sit in a starbucks all day long with an IV drip of iced caramel apple spice and be perfectly content in watching people as they interact. and in my lifelong career as a human observer, i have made several observations and come to several conclusions.

my most recent observation is that 2 people can say the exact same thing in 2 different ways, and 1 will be totally accepted and appreciated while the other will be totally rejected and despised. and the positive one ALWAYS wins.

one mom says to her child, "you won't get to go outside and play unless you finish all of your chores," while another says, "as soon as you finish these chores, you get to go outside and play!" one teacher says to his class, "if you fail to come to class, you will lose points," while another says, "you will receive points for every day that you come to class." i've found that anything can be said with a positive twist, and the difference between the statements that essentially say the exact same thing makes all of the difference. it's all a matter of knowing when to use sugar instead of salt.

i've also noticed that too much salt can make a person bitter. and bitter people can sometimes dump their excess salt on other people's wounds without even realizing it. when someone is overly consumed with feelings of criticism or unrealistic expectations of perfection, that person begins to become overtaken with bitterness that can't help but overflow and touch the people with whom he or she comes in contact. the salt then touches the wounds of others, causing them to sting and to burn. people's hearts then start to close, and they tend to start drifting further and further away from the salt shaker.

now i'm not discounting salt. there's no denying that as christians we are supposed to become like salt and are supposed to make every attempt to keep up our flavor. and sometimes a good sting of salt is exactly what is needed to correct and to heal. but i believe that sometimes the difference between being effective and having the impact that we want with other people is knowing when to use salt and when to use sugar. just because we choose to take things with a grain of salt doesn't mean that we have to go crazy with the whole shaker. and sometimes we have to give and realize that it's only a spoonful of sugar that will actually make the medicine go down.

"you are the salt of the earth. but if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?" matthew 5:13

"instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, CHRIST." ephesians 4:15

1 comment:

  1. That reminds me of what Joseph's kindergarten teacher used to ask - "Are you using sugar or vinegar?" A great point!

    Judy :)