24 Apr

[The local pastors have a meditation column in the Dawson paper each week. Last week was my week to contribute so I wrote about one of my favorite events of late – taffy making with some of my favorite kids!]

I made taffy with fourteen third graders. I thought it would be a fun adventure, something a bit out of the ordinary. Have you pulled taffy before? I never had so I put on my brave face and decided we would try it together.

It was sticky. It was messy. It got really noisy. At some points I heard at least five kids calling my name. “I need help!” “Mine is stuck to the table!” There were times when I needed to collect myself or else I risked responding, in true fashion like my own mother, “One person at a time!” [Note: Sorry, Mom. Just a funny anecdote for humor purposes, not really a comment on your temper. I love you.] Over and over, I heard, “I need more butter!” Oh my goodness – the butter. To pull taffy, you have to butter your hands really well, otherwise the taffy sticks. It gets slimy, drippy, and slippery.

Taffy is a lot like life. Life gets sticky. Sometimes, life is a mess. We have five different projects calling for our attention at once. Or five different people – children, spouses, parents, bosses, teachers. Sometimes we want to scream for silence, for relief from what’s going on outside of ourselves. It’s chaotic. There are slippery situations. Just as the taffy can fall to the floor and get stomped into the carpet, so our lives feel like they fall apart at the death of someone we love, the surprise diagnosis, or the knowledge of an affair that comes to light.

When we finished pulling and packaging our taffy, I sent the third graders off with bags of their own taffy and a sheet of paper. It reminded them that when life gets sticky to remember this:

“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.” (1 John 4:9-11)

God loves us. God loves you and is with you when things get sticky and messy. God asks us to love others when their lives are sticky and icky. God is love. Eat some taffy (or make some and share it!) and be reminded that God is love even (and especially!) when things are sticky and messy and chaotic!

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