Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lessons in a Bottle

A few days ago, I was trying to open the plastic wrap around the top of a bottle of vanilla extract. After sitting there for about 5 minutes working on it, I finally decided to find some scissors to assist me in my endeavors. ;) But before this, as I was getting incredibly frustrated by what should have been a simple task, I held the bottle right up to my face to take a closer look. (I think I was looking in vain for some slit or perforation that would make my job a little easier. No such luck.) Anyways, the plastic said "sealed for your protection". At that point I just laughed - believe me, I was kind of wishing that whoever had sealed it didn't care so much about keeping me safe and healthy.

But as I stopped to ponder it more - well isn't that what life is like? Vanilla is an interesting flavoring. Does anyone else remember when you were young, begging your mom to let you try just a bit of it? It smelled so good . . . surely it couldn't taste bitter like she said! Inevitably, she decided to let you learn by experience, and you got your first (and probably last) taste of vanilla. (Now I know that the seal on the vanilla is not meant for keeping us from experiencing it's bitter taste. But all analogies break down at some point, so bear with me.)

How many times have your parents or God said no to you? Sometimes they tell you why, sometimes they don't, but we all have been refused something in life. Often that's really hard to swallow. It's hard to comprehend how something that seems so right to us can be so clearly wrong in someone else's eyes. (And when that someone else has authority over you. . . well that just makes it even harder!) But this little bottle gave me the insight as to why - remember? Sealed for your protection. I know that a lot of the time, I really don't want to be protected! I want to get right into things and experience them for myself. But, as with the bitter taste of vanilla, what seems so good and "tasty" beforehand will most often leave a bitter taste in my mouth. The authority figure is who is saying "no" knows this, and is trying to keep me from having to go through it. But the more I sit there and struggle with my protection, the more frustrated I'll get. Strangely enough, there is often something far better that I am allowed, a path God has for me that will be so much above and beyond what I can imagine - for example, has anyone ever seen plastic protective wrap on the sugar jar? ; )

So next time your parents or God set limitations on you that you can't understand, remember the vanilla bottle and that annoying, but oh so necessary "sealed for your protection" plastic wrap.


Ashley said...

This is excellent, Dear! Will you write a book sometime?
Love you.

Anonymous said...

yes, very insightful!:-D

Anonymous said...

WOW! your analogies are so great! You are such a help and it is so true...just needs to be remembered!!