One Life Seasons Another
By: Donna Haug
December 9, 2003
Dragging herself off the couch, Jacqueline shuffled into the kitchen and wondered what she could make for supper. She peeked into the fridge and saw the turkey that was left over from the Thanksgiving dinner with her parents. Her first reaction had been to throw the whole lot out, but when she started poking around she had discovered pockets of her favorite dark meat as well as hidden strips of her husband’s favorite white meat. The skeletal remains had been waiting patiently in the fridge for a few days already. She threw the carcass into a pot of hot water, letting it boil and boil until the meat just fell off the bones. Fishing the bones out of the water was a tedious job but it didn’t take too long once she put her mind to it. It surprised her how much good meat had been hiding among all those bones. As she leaned over the hot pot picking out the unwanted remains, Jacqueline was reminded of some harsh words that she had spoken during the Thanksgiving dinner. The words had been so hurtful; they had threatened to ruin the evening for the entire family. She had not meant to lash out like that, but when her sister had poked at that sore spot once again, even though it was in jest, she just couldn’t seem to help herself. Even as she threw the turkey bones into the garbage can, stubborn tears forced their way into her eyes. If only thoughtless words could be discarded so easily! She quickly wiped her tears away and returned to the task at hand.
Jacqueline considered what she had available to toss in with the turkey. There was a lot of left over rice. Good old, reliable rice. What would she ever do without it! That’s all her son wanted to eat these days. Rice, rice, rice. How he never tired of it, she would never understand. Same old, same old. As she spooned the rice into the pot, she thought about her life. She felt like her life had become just like that lump of rice. Boring, cold and lumpy – that’s all she could feel. Not that she hated her life. Her husband and two toddlers were the light of her life. But the sameness of her days was getting her down. Diapers, naps, dirty faces, laundry, dishes, crying, and more laundry. Sometimes she missed the days when she could just take off and spend the day with her friend or even the challenge of the old job that she had been so glad to get rid of a few years ago when her boys were born! Boring, cold and lumpy. She stared into the pot as she watched the rice separate and dance around the pot as the soup simmered. Her head cocked to the side thoughtfully.
Shaking her head, she turned again to the fridge to see what vegetables were available. Opening the freezer, Jacqueline pulled out a package of frozen mixed vegetables. That would do. Unfortunately, they must have partially thawed at one point because they were frozen into a solid lump. How she hated it when that happened! She whacked the bag against the counter breaking the frozen chunk apart but causing a terrible racket in the meantime. She heard a whimper from her 2 year who had been napping in the next room. Great! Now she’d woken up the baby! She stood still for a moment, head hanging down as another wave of depression swept over her. Thankfully, he seemed to fall back to sleep. Throwing the vegetables into the pot, Jacqueline sighed heavily. Her life seemed so dull and dreary. As a result she was out of sorts and short tempered with everyone. She didn’t like being that way, but felt like a dark cloud was hanging over her.
With a final stir of the great smelling soup, she took a spoonful of the broth to taste. Hmm. Something was missing. What could it be? Jacqueline mentally ran over the list of ingredients in the pot and suddenly she remembered – salt! Of course! As she retrieved the salt from the pantry and quickly seasoned the soup, she felt a gentle nudging in her heart. A verse she had memorized when she was just a child came to her mind: “You are the salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13). In a moment she knew what was missing in her life! She had been so caught up in thinking of herself and her own little pity party, that she had forgotten the most basic of Christian principles. If you want joy in your life, you must pour yourself out in service to your Lord and to others. Salt that sits in the saltshaker does no good to anybody and eventually loses it’s saltiness. But as it is poured out, it fulfills its purpose, whether that be adding flavor to food, sterilizing wounds or curing meat.
As she placed the lid on the pot, allowing the soup to simmer for a while longer, Jacqueline bowed her head. “My Lord, forgive me for being so selfish and petty. Help me today to look for ways to pour my life out in blessing for my children, my husband, my family and friends. You have blessed me beyond measure! Help me to focus my thoughts, loving attentions and prayers on those that you have placed within my care. Amen!”
Turning to set the table with a lighter heart, she knew she had learned a lesson. Just as salt seasons a meal when it is used for it’s rightful purpose, so each person’s life seasons that of those around him with God’s love when it is poured out for His sake.
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