I’m sorry I missed you here on the porch last week. I had some very sad business to tend to. Our church lost a friend. She was just 51 years young.
(One of the sweetest things in my life...my daughter, Emmali)
Her life ended… too soon. It was sad.
In my very short existence here on Earth, I have learned something about sadness. First and foremost, I have learned that sadness is not from God. He doesn’t give sadness. However, sadness, heartbreak, the "hankies of life" (as I call ‘em) is a gift. I know that sounds strange. But as strange as it may sound, it is true.
Let me see if I can explain with a story.
I love hot drinks… hot apple cider…. Coffee… and old fashion hot chocolate. I was at my grandmother’s house one day when I decided to try my hand at hot chocolate. Now, you have to understand that at Grandma’s house you cannot find "instant" hot chocolate mix. At Grandma’s house everything is made from scratch.
So, I pulled the Hershey’s® cocoa of the shelf and read the recipe on the side. 4 cups of milk, 4 tablespoons of cocoa, 1 /2 cup sugar, 1 /2 teaspoon vanilla (optional) and 1 /2 teaspoon of salt. Salt! Who wants salt in your hot chocolate? I want sweet and creamy. I love sweet and creamy, and in that order. So, I skipped the salt and added a pinch more sugar. Scald milk and stir in ingredients. I did that. I watched that white whole milk turn to a reddish brown and I dumped in all that white sugar...minus the salt. I stirred with slow heat until I saw steam rising off the top. This was going to be good. My mouth was watering in anticipation of this sweet and creamy concoction. I placed a large soupspoon in the pan and dipped out some brown goodness. I blew on the spoon. I didn’t want to burn my tongue on the first sip. If so, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the rest of it. I raised the spoon to my lips and slurped what I had been waiting for. Oooooo! It was awful…strong and bitter. So, if it was bitter then the remedy must be to add more sugar. So, I added another quarter cup. I sipped. It was still bitter. I did it again and again.
I did this until I had added 2 cups of sugar to the mixture. My hot chocolate was still nasty and the recipe only called for 1 /2 cup of sugar. Perplexed with cooking, I did what any sensible grandson would do. I asked grandma for help.
Her one and only question was revealing. "Did you put in the salt?" She instructed me to go back and put in the salt that was required and then taste. I did and the hot chocolate was to sweet for even me to drink. The salt made it sweet.
So I have learned that it takes the bitter to make things sweet. I also learned that I have a lot of sweet things in my life given to me by God Himself. Now when the bitter things of life come along, it makes the sweet things even sweeter!
Enjoy what you have.