Last week Head of House made our tea. This is not an unusual event. He often shares in cookery duties because he is a man – not an idiot. On this occasion he served up spaghetti bolognese, again not unusual. This is a meal well within outstanding capabilities. However, this week there was a problem. No one wanted to say anything at first because you don’t want to appear ungrateful but it was sooo salty. In the end, the coughing and the buckets of water we were consuming sort of gave the game away. HOH was the first to say – “Is this salty? Or is it me?” Relief! “Well yes actually – it is – a bit. Not a lot. Just, well, a bit” All very British.
It turns out that Nigella – for it is she – always salts her pasta liberally because she feels that it should taste as “salty as the Mediterranean” or some such blah. This confirms my thesis that Nigella should never be allowed to teach cookery to chaps because they either do not concentrate on anything she is saying as they are so busy staring glassily or they follow her advice, slavishly without question – even if it means everyone in the family develops type 2 diabetes in the space of an afternoon.
I am aware that Biblically, salt is often seen as a good thing and I am certainly NOT contradicting the Bible. None of your heresy here indeed no! But salt isn’t always a good thing and those of us who spent an evening this week putting our fingers down our throats and making retching noises will attest to this. (HOH I am not going on and on about this. I am making a very deep spiritual point here. I am aware that anyone can make a mistake. Let’s ask ourselves whether you were that gracious when I forgot to move the dog pooh from under the back step. You know it is a rule in here to look before you walk.)
I was reading in Ezekiel this week about a vision about a river that flowed into the sea. Unusually, when this river flows, it turns salt water into freshwater. Wherever it touches (and only where it actually touches) the land becomes habitable, plantable (if you know what I mean) lush and green.
Wherever the river flows, life will flourish…because the river is turning the salt sea into fresh water. Where the river flows, life abounds. The swamps and the marshes won’t become fresh – they’ll stay salty. But the river itself on both banks will grow fruit trees of all kinds. Their leaves won’t wither and the fruit won’t fail.”
I have left a bit of scripture out here which I think means certain death but you can read it in Ezekiel 47. Its very good.
This week, I spoke to a lady at length on the phone. I don’t speak to her that often and can’t claim to know her that well but I have to be honest – it was a bit of a trial. She doesn’t seem to like anything or anyone. Everyone has it in for her, everyone has an agenda, no one cares. It was the kind of conversation that makes you metaphorically put your duvet over your head and wait until it goes away. It made me think of the salt thing because I sort of felt that was how a slug must feel when my Mum is out and about in the garden with the salt cellar. My challenge, which – spoiler – I failed miserably, was, I think, to try and take the salt out of the way she felt and leave her happier and more balanced about life and her friends. It was much easier and in a way more natural to let her way of thinking infect me and end up believing that most people are indeed ratbags and go and shout at the football, which is more or less what happened
So, how to overcome when you are in the middle of general horribleness? When nastiness is intimidating the living daylights out of you and it’s difficult to fight back. When you are behaving like a piece of work yourself and seem powerless to stop it. Don’t ask me – it’s well outside my skill set. The difference, of course is God. The God who can turn us around and make us what we are not. Who makes the impossible possible. The promise is there but delivery only comes with asking. I think we are meant to ask and often. Only with God and through God, I think the moral is.