10 ¶ The heart knows its own bitterness, And a stranger does not share its joy. ~ Proverbs 14:10 (NKJV)
Being born at the beginning of the 1960s, there weren’t as many things for kids to do as there are now. So, to pass the time, we made up things to do. The person I am today was largely shaped by the things I did back then to end my boredom.
On one particularly monotonous afternoon (on which I was trapped inside because of a rainstorm) I decided to rummage through the drawers in my mother’s kitchen. To my delight, she had an entire library of full-color glossy-printed cookbooks. Each one had been produced by a famous food company, and she had probably received each one a “prize” for buying a specially marked package of the particular product.
Oh, how happily I passed those long hours looking at the pictures in those beautiful volumes! My favorite was entitled “Cooking With 7Up.” As you might guess, every recipe in that one contained at least one bottle of the sparkling citrus beverage, and I’m not just talking desserts here. I wondered why my mother never made homemade 7Up corndogs for my sister and me. All she needed was a package of frankfurters, some 7Up to stir into a box of pancake mix, and enough oil to fry them in. Seemed simple enough to me….
My favorite recipe from the Campbell’s cookbook was for “Soup Milkshakes.” The recipe said to combine a can of Campbell’s Cream-of-Chicken, Cream-of-Celery, or Tomato Soup with a can of ice cold milk. (Or 3/4 a can of milk if you like THICK soup shakes. I’m not making this stuff up.) My favorite line from this recipe says, “You’ll be surprised, too (and so pleasantly), with the flavor of the Cream-of-Mushroom Soup Shake.” Yeah, buddy, you betcha. I guess I’d better go to the hardware store and look for a box of HUGE drinking straws.
I’m not sure why I liked these booklets so much. Maybe because the pictures inside were of people living in a world where every day is a sunny day. Maybe because the recipes were made from products so good that they were applicable to every recipe and situation in life. Maybe because they presented a universe where people thought that a Creamy-Hormel-Bacon-Cheesecake was a great idea. At any rate, I thought they were grand. And now, even as a middle-aged man, when I see these things my heart is filled with an unexplainable lightness and joy. That’s a good thing.
Today’s Scripture verse (at the top) tells us that each person’s heart is moved to joy by things that only that person can understand. Because there is so much sadness in the world, we ought to surround ourselves with the little things that fill our hearts with light.
And we ought to strive to understand our loved ones so can encourage them by bringing to them the things that mean so much to them. These are the non-toxic anti-depressants of life. They cost no money, have no side effects, and are created by our Lord for us to enjoy. Let’s use them to bring sunshine wherever we go.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 27 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school and teaches Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher’s wife often says she heard a song from the past that caused “all of her endorphins to fire.”) The Cashes have two sons, Spencer (age 22), and Seth (age 18), who live in the parsonage, too, except when they are away at college. He would love to hear from you in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.