Tuesday, January 12, 2016

TASTE ME!



Why is it that inspiration never looks like inspiration when it comes along? It could have passed by unnoticed and I would have missed out on this blessed experience. A long time ago, the spirit-man who was imprisoned deep inside my being was set free and empowered by God to help me live my life the way He had intended it to be lived from the very foundations of creation. Thank the Lord! he was paying attention.

Garry Mitchell said “I don’t know about you...but when I find something GOOD, something I really like, I want MORE of it as often as I can have it.”  One could read a lot into such a statement, but I knew Garry was speaking about the Word of God and God Himself.

My mind does strange things with inspiration. It studies it closely, turning it over and over, trying to get all the goodness out of it that’s possible. So why did my mind take me back to my childhood and an event so random? 

There I was, standing in Hobbabush Alley with a couple of friends by a tall wooden fence upon which Honeysuckle grew in great profusion.  It was a hot, summer day, barely a whisper of a breeze to cool one’s sweaty brow. The fragrance of the Honeysuckle was so thick, one could almost feel it upon their skin.

My friends and I were gathering nectar, sipping it by the drop as it emerged from the small end of each blossom. Perhaps you are not aware of the pastime or the process. I’ve surveyed several people recently and not one was familiar with what I described to them. I suppose the practice has fallen out of favor or has been lost in the past. But...when I was a child, some 50 years ago, it was very common.

Your basic Honeysuckle blossom is sort of funnel shaped. It’s not trumpet shaped because it has no “rim” to speak of, say like a Morning Glory. I’m not sure about the name of the parts inside the blossom. There are pistils and stamen as with most flowers. But it seems to me that this blossom was designed the way it is for just the purpose we kids put it to. The center-most object in the flower was a small, green ball secured to a fibrous stem that ran the full length of the blossom and was attached to the little cap that remained on the blossom after it had been removed from the vine. If one did it correctly, pinching off the little cap without detaching it from the center stem, one could pull it through the blossom, forcing whatever nectar was present in the bottom of the funnel out through the end. Once you were sure that some nectar was present, you then laid the blossom on your tongue and continued to pull. If one applied a slow, steady pressure to their pulling effort, most of the time, the center stem with the little green ball would make it all the way through and every bit of nectar inside the blossom came out onto their tongue.

If you’ve never tasted Honeysuckle nectar, allow me to assure you, it is sweet and the taste is exactly like the fragrance. Now you must admit...Honeysuckle smells delicious and thus, it tastes delicious also.

How does this image relate to anything Godly or divine? For every child, there has to be a first time for tasting the nectar of a Honeysuckle blossom. Your friends can tell you how good it is and you may believe them, but until you taste it for yourself, you really have no idea just how good it actually is.

In the Book of Psalms there are two scriptures.

Ps:34:8: O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Ps:119:103: How sweet are thy words unto my taste!  yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

So Garry’s words stirred within my spirit and brought to my remembrance how I was before I tasted the Lord for myself. For all my life, up until my life was changed and my mind was renewed, whenever I discovered something GOOD, I kept it for myself. The last thing I considered doing with it was sharing it with someone. If I found a good place to hunt or fish or if I discovered some secret relevant to either one, like a different kind of bait or an angling technique or a new artificial lure; that was MINE and I wasn’t sharing it with anyone. I know now how purely selfish that kind of attitude was and it is a source of great shame for me today.

Then there are times when I recall how I used to share BAD things with others and did it gladly. Something like a new stink-bait for catching Catfish was always eagerly shared. Not because it worked great but because it smelled so horrible. I would hand a fishing buddy a container of it and invite him to take a big whiff and check it out. When he did smell it and turned away quickly, repulsed by the stench of it, for some strange reason that was fun for me.

One thing is for sure, neither I nor my close friends would dare present a beautiful flower to one another and ask that its beauty and fragrance be enjoyed by them. Today I can’t help but wonder...just how much of a friend was I really being to them? I also remember my first taste of beer and whiskey. I confused myself many times. Beer didn’t taste good to me at all and whiskey had nothing in the way of an enjoyable taste to it. It burned all the way down to my stomach and at times, almost strangled me as I tried to drink it.  The same could be said for tobacco. I can't tell you how many times I’ve asked myself...”Why did I do that?”
It certainly wasn’t a sensible thing to do. Some of the things we exposed one another to made about as much sense as taking a big stick and rapping them on the shinbone with it. It’s like saying, “Man! Doesn’t that hurt? But just think how good it’s going to feel when it finally stops hurting!” I mean having a terrible hangover after a “Friend” plied you with many drinks the night before could in no way be seen as a good thing. They tell you we had fun but who can remember?  I do know that waking up in a jail cell is no fun.

Well, I can say this much; I’m sure glad that I came to my senses one day.  I’m also glad to say that I didn’t wait too long to do it. Is half a lifetime TOO long?

There’s an old saying that goes “We are too soon old and too late smart.” I’d say for the most part, that’s very accurate. I was twenty-one when I figured out that alcohol was a BAD THING. I wish I had been that wise, that soon about some of the other things in life.

I’ve done a few very wise things along the way. I gave up alcohol at twenty-one. I married my wife when I was thirty-one. When I was forty-three I finally decided to “taste” God and realized how GOOD He was. Since then, there has been so much GOOD in my life I just had to share it with others. I stopped pandering the BAD THINGS and the desire to share everything that was good about life just took over. Whenever I find anything good, the first thing I think about is who can I share it with. If it’s food, I go out of my way to see that others get a taste or I will at least share the recipe with them.

God is much like a Honeysuckle Vine. If you want to know the deep things about Him; if you want to find the blossoms with the most nectar, you will need to reach past the blossoms on the surface, part the tangle of vines and look for the hidden flowers. The one’s that are easy to reach, the Butterflies and Hummingbirds have already reaped the bounty of their nectar. A diligent search pays great rewards. 

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