Now that we are in a new year, and the Christmas season is officially completed, about this time it’s important to re-survey one’s Christmas presents, and to make sure they are not just lying willy-nilly around the house. For instance, the stocking stuffers that Cheri gave me have either been stored in a trunk or bin for future generations, or stuffed into the top shelf of my bookcase, which has a door on it. I have already put the tool that allows you to both bust out your car window and to slice your seatbelt so you can escape when you find yourself either upside down after a crash, or slowly sinking in a miry bog. It’s in the little pocket of my side door. I just hope I will remember it’s there when and if I ever have to use it. I haven’t had to do so for the first 63 years of my life, but you never know…
I’ve already displayed my very cool Megaladon shark tooth fossil that I got from the boys. It’s estimated to be 2.6 to 15 million years old, so to look at it helps me as I think about my upcoming birthday. The other board games have been stored in the closet, ready to be pulled out when all four of us have some time to play a rousing game.
That leaves two items. My sister and brother-in-law sent me a four-pack of jars of salsa from Fort Worth, ranging from mild to burn-your-eyebrows-off in spiciness. I’ve used some already as I made nachos for supper one night. It was a medium heat, but still very respectable, although they may take me a year to use them all up, I imagine. The second gift, coming from Cheri’s sister and her husband and family is a little more challenging. You see, they bought a six-pack of bottles of hot sauce (I guess everyone knows I like things spicy in my world!). These are not salsa jars – they are hot sauce, to be sprinkled carefully on whatever I want to eat, to give it some heat. That’s fine, but six bottles?
In this “finest collection,” I have hot mango habanero, spicy garlic, jalapeno, chipotle, Asian teriyaki, and of course the domestic blend of simply habanero hot sauce, all of which come with warnings not to touch my eyes as I apply the hot sauce to whatever food I wish to douse. Now, I’m pretty sure this came as one of those nice presents you can pick up at the displays in the large stores, all ready to purchased and then given to unsuspecting brothers-in-law. The trouble is, I have already opened and used the jalapeno juice hot sauce in my chili this week, but I used a total of about 7-8 drops of the magma. That leaves about 100 more drops in just that one bottle, and I have five more to use, all of which need refrigerating after opening, so I need to probably use them in order. On top of that, I’m sure you understand that these are not hot sauces that get used on everything I eat, like oatmeal or bananas or peanut butter sandwiches. I may throw a few drops in with my tuna salad sandwich, but I’m not going crazy with this stuff.
It’s a total of 30 ounces of hot sauce. If I remember my measurements, 32 ounces is a quart, so this is just shy of about a ton of hot sauce. Add to that the 64 ounces of salsa, and I have nearly ¾ of a gallon of burn-your-gut deliciousness to consume over some period of time. Until then, we’ll store the containers somewhere… also, realize that these gifts don’t come as I have used up all varieties of salsa and hot sauce already in the kitchen and the cupboard. I wasn’t running low! Still, I cherish the gifts, and appreciate them, it’s just…
I believe this is a good object lesson of a fundamental belief I have: every action a person takes has a consequence to it. No matter what you do, there will be some kind of effect on yourself, on another person, or on the world. If, for instance, you are prone to using alcoholic beverages, no matter how much or how little, it will have an effect on your physical processes. If you donate to charity, the donation creates a new reality for the ones receiving the gift. If you treat another person with disdain, or with cherished love, those two actions will certainly create a reaction, either good or bad.
That’s why I continue to remind myself, and hopefully you as well, that the best path we can take, as we affect the world around us through our actions, is to be intentional about what we are doing. That means we consider at least the main unintended consequences that may occur, such as blessing Cheri’s husband with just shy of a gallon of spicy liquids that he will work to use up over the coming year…
When the boys were little, and they did something that caused a problem or a mess of some sorts, they often would say, “But I didn’t mean to …” My response has always been, to them and to everyone I come in contact with, “It’s not that you didn’t mean to, but it’s more important that you mean NOT to do something.” It still might happen that there is a consequence you hadn’t planned for, but when we INTEND to take an action, and do so thoughtfully, considering what may be the reaction that returns, at least we are being response-able to others and to our world.
So – intend what you will do today, and if anyone needs some spicy liquids for their lives, just let me know!
Word for the day: ulotrichous. It’s a tricky one, pronounced you-LAH-trick-us. It’s actually from Greek origin, oulos, meaning “curly or wooly looking” and thrix, or trichos meaning “hair.” So simply, an ulotrichous person is someone with curly or wooly looking hair. It’s a tossup as to whether that’s a blessing or a curse. Of course, it depends on your own preference for ulotrichousness…
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.