Spinach


When I was a young lad growing up, there were three foods for which I had a driving passion: peanut butter, sauteed chicken livers, and orange ice. I have never known of anyone else who ate peanut butter with a spoon, feasted on toasted chicken liver sandwiches, or regularly consumed heaping bowls of orange ice; but I used to do all of these things often, and I must confess that, once in a while, I still do.

On the other hand, I also had a passionate aversion to spinach, which my mother believed to be absolutely essential to a healthy and strong body, and especially so at my age. She lovingly catered to my likes, but not at all to my dislike of spinach, a generous portion of which, to my chagrin, would periodically make an appearance on my plate. My mother was also of the old school that believed that the meal was not over until every plate had been cleaned, which presented me with a challenging predicament.

So it was that one noonday when I was 10, I wound up sitting at the table, all by myself, staring at a mound of untouched spinach, which I defiantly had refused to eat. My mother informed me that I was to sit there until the spinach was gone, all day if necessary, (and I supposed all night), and left me alone while she went to attend to other tasks. Being an enterprising and imaginative youngster, not easily discouraged, I eventually came up with a solution to my problem. It turned out to be only a temporary solution, and in the long run an unsatisfactory one which demonstrated a definite lack of wisdom and understanding, but I was to grow immeasurably in both of these attributes as a result of it. I spread the spinach out on my plate, flattening it down with my fork, and carefully deposited it evenly under the far corner of the dining room rug. Then happily I ran off in pursuit of some other more pleasant activity.

After I had all but forgotten the whole matter, an acrid smell in the dining room made my deception clearly known to all. My presence was loudly called for, I was confronted with the undeniable evidence of my wrong-doing, forceful strokes were unhesitatingly administered to the appropriate portion of my anatomy, and in less time than it takes to tell about it, I was effectively taught a lesson about truthfulness and about trying to hide things that eventually start to smell, which made a lasting impression on me, if not on my bottom. I wish I could say that I learned my lesson so well that I now live my life openly and honestly, without resorting to deception, hiding my weaknesses, mistakes, wrongdoings, and other things of which I am ashamed, but of course I cannot.

However, from the many times that I have ignored that lesson, I have discovered a very important truth that has made a big difference in my life, namely that whenever things start going wrong in my life, or I start to feel out of sorts and find myself depressed and irritable, I am hiding something, and have gotten myself entangled in the web of deception and untruth. Somewhere there is something rotting under the rug that will not stop smelling until I have confessed it, forgiven both the other person involved and myself, and have thereby brought it into the healing light.

For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore, whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops (Luke 12:2-3).

Contributed by Stephen B Elmer buzz@c4.net

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