Noisy holidays are my favorite. When houses are full of people chatting, laughing – that’s the best. While ours wasn’t, we invaded one that was this weekend. Our friends had relatives in town, and invited us to come over for dinner and we joined them. Then we came back later. And again after that. And I think there was one more time. They couldn’t get rid of us. Food, conversation, game-playing. So much fun! Pie Face was happening, but I couldn’t bring myself to participate. I had just washed my hair, and while it probably would have been safe, I wimped out. The next game was Jelly Belly Bean Boozled.
I thought, “How bad can it be?” You give the spinner a spin, and then find out what color of a bean you have to eat. The tricky part is that each visually-similar bean is one of two flavors. For example –
Is it the flavor of pear, or the flavor of boogers? The flavor of buttered popcorn or a rotten egg? You don’t know until you bite into it.
However, my sister Monica affectionately says I am a rainbow-farter and that only good things happen to me, so I thought my chances were probably pretty good.
I was wrong.
I spun the spinner, and the arrow pointed to what might be a chocolate pudding jelly bean. Or…
A jelly bean the flavor of canned dog food.
I stuck that thing in my mouth, and the first hint of a taste appeared. I was hoping I was just imagining it. But no such luck. It was dog food alright.
And it got stuck in one of my teeth, lingering all over my taste buds much, much longer than I had hoped.
And lucky for my friends, the scent was wafting around the room, like a stinky, dark cloud.
After all the chewing and swallowing of that one bean, then picking it out of my teeth and more swallowing, a friend rushed over with a cup of water. The only problem is, water doesn’t really mask a taste, but just shoves it down for a minute. But that dog food taste was a fighter, and kept wafting its way back up. After two glasses of water, and two peppermints, a cinnamon roll and two cups of Pepsi, I thought the taste might be gone. No luck there either.
It settled enough to play a few rounds of Uno, then, against my better judgment, we sat down for a Tim Hawkins video. As it got started, the taste was valiantly making it’s way back up my throat, like a warrior unwilling to surrender.
A fog of flavor was coming back up in bursts, and the dog food wasn’t diminished. As I was recognizing it, my stomach was turning. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a northern or southern battle, but I was certain it going to happen. I tried to remain calm through Tim’s bit about Christian Cuss Words, and through his Athiest Church Songs, and then the rumbling of my digestion continued during his ballad of “Muffintop.”
I wasn’t sure I would make it home. We held out until after the DVD was finished, but I rushed home immediately afterward, got a cup of orange juice and curled up in my bed, hoping I could sleep it off. After just a few times of waking during the night with the turning stomach, I woke up Sunday morning feeling a billion times better. But even now, the thought of it turns my stomach (Similar to the effect mentioning “White Castle” has on me…*cue stomach rumblings*)
But it did teach me a lesson. A couple of them really.
#1 – Don’t eat things that could be grody.
#2 – Something seemingly small can have a much bigger impact than you know.
I had no idea that a tiny jelly bean could fill the room with it’s stinkiness, nor that it could leave me feeling sick for hours. But it did. It got me to thinking about how other seemingly small things can have huge impacts.
I have had people say things to me that I am sure were not meant to be a big thing, but the words stung and stayed with me far longer than I could have expected. Eating at me, and adding to my insecurities. And, on the flip side, I have probably said things that I didn’t think twice about, but probably caused some pain to the listener. Words that, had I known their impact, I never would have said. Neither is okay.
Our words matter.
Not everything that goes through my mind needs to be said, and that is something I sure need to remember and work on.
Our words have power. I think those monks have it right with their times of silence, every now and then anyway. I’m pretty sure I could benefit from this.
In the same way though, our words can have power for good. We have the power to brighten someone’s day, and to give them hope. I have sweet friends who are great at encouragement, and their words mean more to me than they will ever know.
If we learned something from a sermon preached, a lesson taught, or a song sung, we should let the person know. If we appreciate some help that might otherwise go unnoticed, we should let the person know we are grateful. If a meal was enjoyable, thank the cook. Thank your husband for filling up the car with gas so you didn’t have to get out in the cold early in the morning. Thank your wife for making the dessert you like. Thank your kid for helping unload the groceries. There are a million ways to speak good words. Look for those opportunities. I will join you. You have no idea the blessing you might be to someone today.
“The tongue has the power of life and death…” Proverbs 18:21a