We all know someone like this. Maybe it’s you that is like this. The peas are in a neat pile. The corn is in its own pile. The mashed potatoes and meat have their place too. Each different item is the appropriate distance from all the other items on the plate to ensure that any jarring of the table does not cause them to touch. Heaven forbid that they come into contact with each other. No one can explain why this is so important but that doesn’t matter. This rule must be observed or the meal will be ruined. Don’t tell people like this that all these things touch each other once they are in the stomach; they may never eat again.
I have to admit I am kind of like this.
It isn’t as much about the different items touching but rather the potential of mixing flavours together if one item should somehow become entangled with another. It is really quite logical. Meat, especially beef and pork (I would make a terrible Jew, Muslim or Hindu) is the real reason for eating. It is without equal when it comes to flavour. Everything else on the plate is necessary but not often enjoyable.
Now if you add bacon, cheese, sour cream, onions and a few other things I might have forgotten to the potatoes or cheese sauce to the vegetables they can go from necessary to enjoyable. That being said, they will never make it to the status of meat. Regardless of the status of each item they still should never touch. Who wants the flavour from the necessary and the enjoyable to interfere with the unsurpassable flavour of meat?
I have to admit I live my life this way.
It happened a few days ago. I was trying to make a point about a troubling situation that had been ongoing for quite some time. I would suggest that my passionate statements were truth mixed with opinion, in other words I expressed my take on what was going on and the way it was affecting others including myself and my family. I am sure that in the heat of the moment there were things that took on a little more flavour than they should have. By this I am not suggesting that I added cheese sauce but rather I added the bitterest of herbs.
Regardless of how factual my statements were, they lacked any meat. I had kept all my necessary items from touching the good stuff. My tirade lacked balance and, to continue with the metaphor, my necessary items could have used a little cheese sauce, bacon, sour cream, onions and a few other things I might have forgotten. When what is so good that we would love it over and over again has no contact with what is not so palatable, what is not so palatable becomes how we view everything.
A meal is not complete without meat and vegetables.
Life is not complete, nor is it life without the traits that would be more palatable with a little extra sauce and all the great flavours that make us the people we are. Our attempts to bring change to ourselves and to influence others must be done in light of the fact that we are not just vegetables or meat. If we separate them then we live in a world that either is all good or all bad.
Separating the vegetables from the meat means we will communicate or live in one of the following three worlds. A wonderful to the palate world but leads to heart disease and death. An awful world we put up with. A world that we keep adding sauce to make sure we can live with it.
I cannot change what is on the plate but I can make sure it is balanced.
I failed at this a few days ago and caused a lot of hurt! While I complained about the vegetables, I never added a little sauce to show that there are some things that aren’t so bad even if they are still vegetables and I never mentioned the meat, the great part of the meal. Nothing touched. Everything was kept separate, not just in different positions on the plate but they were not even on the same plate. I made someone eat their vegetables because I thought it was good for them and never even offered them meat. Maybe if I let it all touch I would have found the balance needed.
Did you get lost in my metaphor?
If you are a vegetarian or vegan you probably not only got lost but never made it this far in my post. If you like vegetables just as much if not more than meat then you must be having a hard time understanding what I am talking about. If you like all your items on the plate mixed together (weirdo) then this metaphor has no meaning.
For those who aren’t sure what I am saying, let me put it this way. When you bring out the issues that must be addressed remember that no matter how hard or soft you go after the person you are only talking about part of what makes up who they are. If all you talk about is their failures and never let the positives become part of the conversation, the truth or part truth (we all have our own take on things that can cloud our judgement) you share leaves the other person with no other option but to see themselves as a failure in every part of life. Let all the food touch, the delightful and the not so delightful so that you are both an encouragement and a help as they seek to be more like Christ.
…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 (NIV)